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Idle No More and Other Movements

Five years ago we froze our butts off outside the Manitoba legislature, then got smart and took to the malls, round dancing to honour and protect the water. Four years later many of us drove to Standing Rock to honour and protect the water again. Many of us have family who were in occupations in Wounded Knee or Anishinabe Park in 1973 and '75 respectively. Family who rode the Constitution Train in 1982, friends behind the lines in Kanesatake as we took part in Oka Summer. And stood and cheered a man with a feather who said no.

Nods to Jessica Gordon, Sylvia Mc-Adam, Sheelah McLean, Nina Wilson for Idle No More. Five years has flown by and it's heartwarming to read young people reminisce. It changed lives and reached the globe, the first? what shall we call it? "Indian uprising?" "Surge in Indigenous Protest?" A "Movement?" Perhaps it's all the same movement, looked in on every few years. As movements go Idle No More was huge and the first "Indian Uprising" abetted by social media.

There were a lot of familiar faces at the Winnipeg gatherings. Some not seen for years, others more recent. Some you worked with. Some you wanted to see and some you didn't but there was always a shared smile because the moment was extraordinary. I ran into your editor during the Legislature round dounce. Due to the cold I went to Marks to get some new mitts and saw lots of Neech there (a few of them Chiefs).? Trev' said he went to the Dollar Store to get his new mitts and saw lots of Neech there too.

We danced at Portage and Main. Wouldn't do that again until the Jets made the playoffs in 2015. Before Idle No More it was the Blue Bombers Grey Cup victory in 1990. Saw Neech at both of those events too.

Idle No More transcended the Indigenous community. So did Standing Rock. By the time I got down there the populations of the camps (Sacred Stone and Oceti Sakowin) had swelled into the thousands. At Oceti Sakowin the vibe was more festival than ceremony but it was good. Lots of allies. Lots of media. And one of the most interesting round dances I've ever scene in the golf ball shaped dome that first night. We didn't stay long because we had to be back at work on the Monday but long enough to know that the next time I camp in a tent in the snow I'd do a couple of things differently.

There were a lot of familiar faces at the gathering in Standing Rock. Some not seen for years, others more recent. Some you worked with. Some you wanted to see and some you didn?t but puretime there was a shared smile because the moment was extraordinary.

And that?s how it is at these events. It?s a community reprised when the moment calls.?

Before Wounded Knee there was the Take Over of Fort Lawton and before that the occupation of Alcatraz ("Mayday! Mayday! The Indians are coming! The Indians are coming!").

I had a relative in AIM (the American Indian Movement) and had to stick up for myself a lot in the company of AIM kids. That particular movement had its flaws but it was another in the long, braided tradition of resistance. Every few years, typically when water is at risk, this community puts on its round dancing shoes, welcomes newcomers to the circle, joins hands and two steps to the left, one movement at a time.

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