Rhonda LeValdo-Gayton in Native Condition. Discussion »
For those who felt the Native Youth were apathetic, there is a hopeful outlook with the Idle No More movement.
What has Idle No More begun?
With the use of social media many young people have participated in the peaceful protests to show solidarity with their First Nations counterparts in Canada.
The Idle No More movement began in Canada, but now is a warrior cry amongst many tribal nations who understand what their northern nations are going through. It first started to draw attention to a bill called C-45 that was passed by Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper that would affect the Indian Act, Navigation Protection Act, and the Environmental Assessment Act. None of the First Nations were consulted about the changes that could negatively impact their lands and environment.
In order to get people aware of this issue, four women began a crusade to get the word out. Jessica Gordon, Sheelah McLean, Sylvia McAdams and Nina Wilsonfeld organized the first event November 10 and thus began "Idle No More."
Many peaceful "Flash mob round dances" have been held in malls, on streets. Hundreds of marching people on highways and bridges that go through their lands bringing traffic to a standstill. One chief, Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence has been on a hunger strike since December 11th and has garnered much attention for the movement to have the Prime Minister finally meet with some of the Canadian Indigenous people.
A discussion of issues that need to be addressed, the influence of First Nations people and that young Native people are doing something to raise that awareness.
An event was held in Lawrence, Kansas, home to Haskell Indian Nations University, which saw many students in attendance as well as many community members. But seeing that participation, not only in Lawrence, but in Rapid City, Chicago, Montana, or Arizona, the word is getting out. Native people, First Nations People, Indigenous people can organize effectively and spread a message.
As a mass communications educator, this has been a wonderful teaching tool on how to use a medium for effective message delivery. Now, let's just see if the message is received.
Rhonda LeValdo, Acoma Pueblo, is a Faculty member at Haskell Indian Nations University teaching Media Communications. She is also the President of the Native American Journalists Association, NAJA.
posted January 14, 2013 7:30 am est