Sunday, March 24, 2013

My Personal Response to Nina Waste

Nina Waste isn't exactly a household name in Canada. She's one of the co-founders of the Idle No More "movement."

In the realization that the "movement" she started is dying, she recently issued this plea via Facebook:

"I know it has been a long hard four months...but we need you...we need the messengers...the ones who love this land and water, and want it safe and clean and pure....the farmers, the unions, the educators, the poets, the writers, the singers, the artists, environmentalists, the settlers, and all allies....we need you....i know it is so very hard to understand our differences, our divides, the hurtful and shameful legacies....we have both been fooled and we have been weapons against one this time we need you, as we have never needed you speak tell the world, that we are in deep crisis...that the Indigenous people are real ppl, with real lives, real loves for our generations coming, ...we are not our statistics, we are not our violence, our poverty, we are not invisible....your your the demise of a people...."

 Unlike far too many Idle No More activists I can't pretend to speak for anyone other than myself, so I won't even pretend to. The following response is from my self and myself alone, and it is as follows:

"Hello, Nina. Guess what? Idle No More is over. It's dead. And if you really want to know what killed it, it's this:

You insisted on trying to build Idle No More as an Occupy-esque movement, effectively with no leadership. As a movement, Idle No More failed to put down any foundations. It allowed any and every douchebag with an axe to grind to come along and speak as a member of the movement, and speak on its behalf. And in doing so it allowed a lot of people to hijack it.

Which doesn't actually undermine what the movement could stand for if those hijacking it were willing to allow it to. Aboriginal peoples in Canada face a lot of problems, and it would probably stun a lot of those associating themselves with Idle No More to learn that we want to see those problems solved. We want to see a better life for aboriginal people in Canada.

Here's the problem: Idle No More has gone out of its way to ensure that there can be absolutely no dialogue regarding how these problems can be solved. They seem to insist on a monologue: on solutions dictated by them. Which would be one thing entirely, if we all didn't have to live side-by-side as neighbours. But we do.

No one wants to see the demise of Canada's First Nations. But there are plenty of people who want to see the suffering continue, not out of malice per se, but simply because the suffering of your people gives them a soapbox they can stand on which they otherwise would not have. They pretend to be your allies, but the only power they have is in ensuring that the suffering of your people continues indefinitely. And they are the loudest voices opposing the necessary dialogue. Like any good villain, they simply want to monologue.

To conclude, what I'm saying is this: talk to us. Don't talk at us. Have a conversation with us. so we can find these solutions together. Until you can find it in yourselves to do that there can be no solutions."

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