First Nations send message
Taking time out from singing traditional Okanagan nation songs, Tim Edwards couldn’t help but notice the gathering of non-Native onlookers Monday.
For Edwards, that was a sign that the Idle No More Day of Action protest at Vernon’s Village Green Centre was a success.
More than 100 demonstrators and supporters gathered and began singing songs, drumming, carrying signs and round dancing for 75 minutes. starting at 4 p.m.
“I think our message got out,” said Edwards, of Spallumcheen, a member of the Okanagan and Shuswap bands who helped organize Monday’s demonstration.
“I was observing non-Natives walking by and I recognized a lot of them stayed in the vicinity. That tells me our message got out to some people.
“I thought it went exceptionally well. There was probably a little more people than I was anticipating.”
The message, according to the idlenomore.ca website, “revolves around indigenous ways of knowing, rooted in indigenous sovereignty, to protect water, air, land and all creation for future generations.”
Idle No More organizers believe the federal Conservative’s bills threaten treaties and the indigenous vision of sovereignty.
To that end, they organized a World Day of Action Monday, peacefully protesting attacks on democracy, sovereignty, human rights and environmental protections.
“There were protests in pretty much every place that had a mall,” said Edwards. “Ours was one of the latest in the day for starting.”
Edwards was joined in Vernon by supporters from Enderby, Spallumcheen, Penticton, Kelowna and lot of the surrounding areas.
The Village Green Centre had been alerted to the presence of the flash mob a couple of weeks before Monday’s demonstration.
Mall security and the RCMP were also on hand.
Monday was the day federal MPs returned to work on Parliament Hill.
The aim of the Idle No More movement is education and the revitalization of Indigenous peoples through awareness and empowerment.