I feel on fire. Via my Muscogee network on Facebook, I learnt about the Idle No More movement which began in Canada several weeks ago and is sweeping North America and gaining worldwide solidarity.
Idle No More began with 4 women; Nina Wilson, Sylvia McAdam, Jessica Gordon & Sheelah McLean who felt it was urgent to act on current and upcoming legislation that not only affects our First Nations people but the rest of Canada’s citizens, lands and waters.
The focus is on grassroots voices, treaty and sovereignty, it began in the early part of October when discussing Bill C 45. All 4 women knew that this was a time to act, as this bill and other proposed legislation would affect not only Indigenous people but also the lands, water and the rest of Canada.
With the focus on the most urgent bill knowing it would initiate attention to all other legislation, the 4 ladies held rallies and teach-ins to generate discussion and provide information. They then decided a nation wide event was garnered so all could participate, thus, The National Day of Solidarity & Resurgence was called for December 10th, 2012, to oppose all legislation and to build solidarity while asserting inherent rights and nationhood while protecting our lands for all people.
You can find out more from the Idle No More website.
There are posts all over the Idle No More Facebook page from people all over the world showing their support. I was moved to hop onto a chair with a poster and raise a feather to show my solidarity.
I did this because I was so deeply moved. I felt something stirring within. This is not only a localised, regional movement. It concerns all of us and the integrity of our Earth, our Home. I posted my support as a First Nation person, a member of the Muscogee. This part of my bloodline runs deep and strong. In my personal life and in my artwork I have considered and created how my Muscogee heritage and ancestry has affected me. I’ve not felt very connected to my tribe, as my father wrenched himself away from his Native roots when he was a very young man, yet he brought his pain and fury into our family. I grew up knowing that I belong to the Muscogee, yet not much of our history and none of the language.
For much of my life, I’ve had a curious mixture of shame and pride about being ‘part Indian’. Some of the artwork I’ve made in the past few years has been healing medicine. One of my Open Studio visitors in September said that I am so lucky to have First Nation ancestry, such a beautiful inheritance. I was taken aback at first. It has felt like a heavy burden to carry the grief of my tribe: the Removal, the Dawes Act, the boarding school legacy, broken treaties & many other instances of historical trauma which were passed down and absorbed into my family story. But there is also the deep spirituality, appreciation of nature and harmonious way of life experienced by the pre-Contact Muscogee that I am learning about and carry within.
I was very moved and touched to have received hundreds of comments from people on Facebook thanking me for my support and my photo was shared several hundred times. I feel woven into the web of First Nation and Indigenous People who are awakening and standing up for our rights and for our Earth. I believe that the way forward has to come from those of us who know in our blood that we are all connected – people, trees, mountains, birds, fish, deserts, animals, all of us and everything.
People are coming together and expressing themselves in many different ways. Some are joining together in peaceful protest, circle dances and flash mobs. Some are eloquent orators, some are organisers, some are gifted writers, some have quiet voices, some make art and pictures. We all have a voice. We all have something to say.