Idle Know More: Films to Strengthen the Idle No More Movement in Canada
Since the #Idlenomore movement began just a few short weeks ago, tens of thousands of Indigenous Peoples and allies in Canada and around the world have stepped forward to inform the Canadian government that it can no longer treat First Nations as zero class citizens who’s only right is to obey the government–and if you don’t like it, then too bad for you.
If you don’t realize it yet, this is exactly what Canada is saying through its attempt to legislate a suite of Bills that will fundamentally change First Nations lives without First Nations consent.
But #idlenomore isn’t just a protest movement or some silly social media trend as the government calls it. It’s an awakening of consciousness, a resurgence, a platform that is bringing all of us together against a common foe. And it’s not just the “usual suspects” leading the charge, it’s everyone, including those of us who have never taken a real interest in politics.
Canada’s indigenous movement has arrived.
Now, with this solid foundation in place, it is time for us to build on it—to make sure that #idlenomore can endure, to avoid old mistakes, to bring the results that we need to live our lives according to our own traditions and rights, and, most importantly, to make sure we never become idle again.
We can no longer afford to keeping treading in Canada’s dirty pool. It’s killing us.
A big part of the building is knowledge. We need to know exactly who Canada is and what exactly we’re dealing with. It’s not just one bill, or even eight. Rather, it is a legacy that Canada has kept alive (election after election after election) in order to extinguish us. Right now it’s Bill C-45 and all the other bills; before that, it was Residential Schools; the Native Sexual Sterilization Act; the imposition of the Band Council system; the 1969 White Paper; the creation of blood quantum; the abolishment of the National Indian government of Canada and, later, the co-optation of the Assembly of First Nations (formerly the National Indian Brotherhood); the creation of the word “Aboriginal” (which was meant to detach us from our “Indian” ancestors) …and the list goes on.
There’s alot for us to consider, but we have to consider it just the same. To help carry this forward, here’s a modest list of films you should probably check out. If you know of any other videos or any other useful stuff that should be here, please post it in the comments below.
Canada will never self-correct. It’s up to us to correct Canada, by example.
First Nations and Canada
In this 48 minute presentation, the respected Nehiyaw (Cree) lawyer Sharon Venne explains the Harper government’s current effort to unilaterally remodel Canada’s political landscape at the expense of all First Nations.
Where do WE Start the Conversation
Pamela Palmater delivers a lecture at Carleton University on “Crown-Indigenous Relations in Canada: Where Do WE Start the Conversation?”
Indian Act & You
The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne’s Nation Building Program Presents Indian Act & You. “In Order to understand our relationship with Canada and how that relationship came to be, we youth must understand our past in order to move forward towards self-governance”
Acts of Defiance
This feature-length documentary recounts the events that surrounded and led to the so-called “Mohawk Crisis” of the summer of 1990. The film focuses on the Mohawk territory of Kahnawake, in Quebec, but also reflects on the relationship between Canada and its First Nations at a particular time in history.
Genocide, Assimilation or Incorporation?
Dr. Bonita Lawrence explores institutionalized racism, cultural genocide, and the history of aboriginal policy in Canada. Highly recommended viewing.
Alanis Obomsawin chronicles the determination and tenacity of the Listuguj Mi’gmaq people to use and manage the natural resources of their traditional lands. Our Nationhood provides a contemporary perspective on the Mi’gmaq people’s ongoing struggle and ultimate success, culminating in the community receiving an award for Best Managed River from the same government that had denied their traditional rights.
From Noble Savage to Righteous Warrior
Kanien’kehaka Educator, Author and Activist Taiaiake Alfred talks about the realities and challenges of nativism, decolonization and indigeneity
American Holocaust: When It’s All Over I’ll Still Be Indian
The powerful and hard-hitting documentary, American Holocaust, is quite possibly the only film to reveal the link between the Nazi holocaust, which claimed at least 6 million Jews, and the American Holocaust which claimed, according to conservative estimates, 19 million Indigenous People
Native America: Discovered and Conquered
Professor Robert J. Miller sits down for one full hour to talk about the foundation of European claims to native lands in the Americas: the doctrine of discovery and “manifest destiny”.
Dancing Around the Table
A documentary about the Conferences on the Constitutional Rights of the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada (1983-85), focusing on the concept of self-government.
The Canary Effect
The grim legacy of America’s treatment of its native peoples is explored in detail in this documentary. Filmmakers Robin Davey and Yellow Thunder Woman take the perspective that if one is to define “genocide” as the a deliberate effort by a government to exterminate a people, then the United States is clearly guilty of the crime given their actions against America’s indigenous population over the past 300 years.
Rooting our Lives in a Sustainable Paradigm
Traditional knowledge systems, culture and the arts as a grounding to a sustainable life. The importance of supporting youth and one another in the transition. Evon Peter is the executive director of Native Movement and former chief of the Neetsaii Gwich’in from Arctic Village in Northeastern Alaska.
You Are on Indian Land
You Are on Indian Land was one of the first films in Canada to give voice to the concerns of Indigenous People.
Apples and Indians
Apples and Indians is a whimsical and profound 5-minute ride that sees Lorne Olson speeding through decades in search of his true identity.