An estimated 400 people gathered Sunday at the Vancouver Art Galley as part of the Idle No More movement, a campaign behind a series of grassroots First Nations protests over the past week against bills passed by the federal government.
Demonstrators have especially been vocal about the recently passed C-45, the omnibus budget bill, which includes changes to the Indian Act regarding how reserve lands are managed.
The bill also removes thousands of lakes and streams from the list of federally protected bodies of water.
Joan Phillip, the wife of Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, addressed Sunday’s gathering, saying that aboriginals were not alone opposing the legislation.
“This is not just an attack on aboriginal title and rights, this is an attack on all of us in this country,” Philip said.
Organizers say the movement is trying to make a make a point to all Canadians.
“It's not as much a rally as a time of education and what we're aiming to do is wake up our nation of Canada,” said Rueben George, of the Tslail Waututh First Nation.
The movement’s aboriginal leaders are promising the protests won't go away anytime soon.
“I predict this groundswell will continue over the winter and into the summer,” Chief Stewart Phillip said. “You haven't seen anything yet.”
Several hundred people also gathered at Park Royal shopping centre in West Vancouver later Sunday for another Idle No More protest.