Still Idle No More by Leon Thompson

Towards the end of 2012, Idle No More saw an increase in attendance at round dance flash mobs and events organized in cities across Canada, and around the globe. It has piqued the interest of mainstream media and has generated many opinions on the merit of this social movement, some positive and others less so. Regardless, it certainly has raised the calibre of discussion around Indigenous issues in Canada today.

The biggest misconception that I hear the most when I talk to people about INM, is that it’s “over.” It is not over. Now it's true to say that the activities haven’t kept pace with what they were in 2012, but that shouldn’t surprise anybody. A Canadian winter is cold, and it is hard to keep up momentum when the theatre of protest is out in the elements. But the movement isn’t gone, just keeping warm. Teach-ins are happening in communities, people are learning about their cultural heritage and identity, both settler and non. Conversations are happening around the home fires, and this was the point of INM: to bring it to the people. But it is not over.

When the snows melt and warmth returns to the land we will again see young people walking, dancing and protesting. Bringing light to the issues facing young Indigenous people in the cities and on the reserves. And they will come with a winter's worth of learning and knowledge, ready to discuss the misconceptions and realities that we face in Canada.

About Leon Thompson

Leon Thompson is the 2013 Couchiching Conference Co-chair. He is a political studies graduate of the University of Saskatchewan where he held a seat on the University Student Council from 2010-2012 and a senate seat in 2011-12. Leon was the first Aboriginal executive member of the university's Students' Union in its 101-year history. He has worked at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa and with CISV, a volunteer organization that promotes multiculturalism in a global context. Conceived, born, and educated on the Prairies, Leon strives to blend Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal theory and topics in the broader Canadian context while learning about contemporary Canadian, Aboriginal, and international Indigenous issues. He follows a First Nations worldview, the seventh generation teachings, and resides in Saskatoon with his cat, Barlow.

The Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs invites opinions and commentary about public affairs issues by various thought leaders, members, and individuals to be presented on our blog. Opinions expressed on the Couchiching Institute Blog are solely those of the writer and not of the Institute.

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