Since our arrival, we discovered with surprise the numerous protests in the street in downtown Vancouver. People wore colourful traditionnal costumes. At that time, we did not realize the meaning of the « Idle No More » words written in all slogans.
But we knew that First Nations Rights was a « hot » conversational topic with the people here. I remember when I traveled to Australia, it was the same there with the Aboriginals. I didn’t understand very well the origin of the silent conflict.
As usually, conflicts appear when we reduce reality with stereotypes and charicatures. On one hand, First Nations were the first, so they could claim at least for the same rights as the « colonizors » have, especially when it’s about the protection of their living territories. On the other hand, cons blame First Nations-related stuff because they believe that aboriginals misuse the money they receive from the Federal government and use for getting drunk. Stereotypes, I told you!
Then, we learnt a bit about the Idle No More movement. Idle No More is an ongoing protest movement originating among the Aboriginal people in Canada comprising the First Nations, Métis and Inuit people and their non-Aboriginal supporters in Canada, and to a lesser extent, internationally (see the map below). It has consisted of a number of political actions worldwide, inspired in part by the liquid diet hunger strike of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence and further coordinated via various social media. A reaction to alleged legislative abuses of indigenous treaty rights by the current federal government, the movement takes particular issue with the recent omnibus bill Bill C-45.
Social media have recently been giving another dimension to the movement, making connections between the remote communities and giving voice to them and gathering supports internationally.
While the Project « Sur la Route du Patrimoine » was invited to attend the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival, we discovered some of the projects First Nations people are taking a stand against to protect their « home ». It is dramatically the case in Northern British Columbia, where plenty of mining projects are under consideration. Sacred Headwaters and other pristine watersheds and natural areas are under threats with effects for ever. We can misunderstand them for having a typical NIMBY (Not in my back-yard) response, as some of these natural areas are their homes, but their fight is maybe worth and important for all of us!
We’ll dedicate another post about this other « hot » and interesting topic that shakes currently many places in the world but especially Canada and British Columbia. Because it is about dealing with the good equilibrium between economical interests and preservation of our common heritage! Beautiful British Columbia may not be « beautiful » for ever…