Local organizations pledge support for Idle No More

EDMONTON - The Idle No More movement marked a global day of action Monday with a rally in Churchill Square that saw leaders from a variety of organizations declare solidarity with the movement.

More than 200 people gathered in Churchill Square to hear representatives from nine organizations, including labour and environmental groups, share short messages of support for Idle No More and sign a declaration of solidarity. The speeches were followed by a tea dance with the Dene Tha' Drummers.

"There are exciting moments in history where people stand together, they band together and begin to resist. I believe that we're witnessing that today when we announce Common Causes, a national movement to bring together people of differing passions," said Nancy Furlong with the Alberta Federation of Labour.

On Monday, groups across Canada launched Common Causes, an assembly of social movements dedicated to defending democracy, social justice, the environment and human rights. Common Causes held rallies and marches in co-ordination with Idle No More's global day of action, which came as Canada's MPs returned to the House of Commons.

In Alberta, other Idle No More events included a march in St. Paul and a protest in Little Buffalo.

Garrett Tomlinson, communications co-ordinator with Lubicon Lake Nation, said about 50 people took part in a roadside protest on Highway 986, which began at 1 p.m. and was expected to last until dark.

In Edmonton, Morningstar Mercredi co-hosted the Churchill Square event with Public Interest Alberta's Bill Moore-Kilgannon.

"We will not stand by idly, we will not be silenced, we will unify and that is what you're witnessing today," Mercredi said.

Lori Sigurdson, on behalf of the Alberta College of Social Workers, declared solidarity with Idle No More and made reference to the controversial omnibus Bill C-45.

"We see first-hand the suffering of the aboriginal people and this bill that has gone through will only continue that," she said.

Representatives from the Canadian Labour Congress, the Council of Canadians, Greenpeace, Friends of Medicare, the Sierra Club's prairie chapter and the Memoria Viva Society also signed the declaration.

Kayla Scanie, a member of Cold Lake First Nations, called Monday's rally "awesome." She hopes to see even more people support Idle No More at future events.

Nancy Dodsworth, with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, attended the event and said she has waited a long time for a movement such as Idle No More.

"Our environment has been destroyed for so long, so to have everyone come together and start to be really active is phenomenal. People are waking up and I'm grateful for that," she said.

Edmonton Journal, Monday, Jan 28 2013
Byline:  Cailynn Klingbeil

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