A number of Canadian musicians have joined forces to show their support for Idle No More, the movement of First Nations people for "healthy, just, equitable and sustainable communities."
According to the CBC, Feist, Broken Social Scene's Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning, Blue Rodeo, former Barenaked Ladies singer Steven Page and The Tragically Hip's Gord Downie have signed a petition backing the movement. The petition was started by Weakerthans' singer John K. Samson just before Christmas (Dec. 21) and originally sent it through various contacts.
"The response was immediate and huge, from artists of all disciplines, genres and mediums," Samson said, adding he got the idea after a conversation with his friend and writer Leanne Simpson, a member of the Alderville First Nation. "It's fundamental to how we think of ourselves and our identity and what a fair and just society should be. Artists have to be right at the forefront of that, it didn't surprise me that so many replied with enthusiastic support."
The statement, dubbed Canadian Artists Statement of Solidarity with Idle No More, reads:
"We recognize that our identity as Canadian artists is coloured by the shameful and continued history of injustice and colonialism, and support the Idle No More movement's demands that Canadians honour and fulfill Indigenous sovereignty, repair violations against land and water, and live the intent and spirit of our Treaty relationship."
Samson has also contributed the song "www.ipetitions.com/petition/rivertonrifle'" from his 2012 Provincial album to a benefit compilation being organized by Holly McNarland, a strong supporter of the movement who has taken to Twitter to get the message out. And argue with those opposed to the movement.
"I bit the bait and got into it about #idlenomore," she tweeted on Jan. 6 "A racist mind is like a chastity belt but not worth it, throw the F'N key away."
Other musicians who have signed the petition include Ian Blurton, Christine Fellows, The Sadies, Sarah Harmer and Bif Naked.
Idle No More is in part protesting Bill C-45 which changes land management on reserves and began last October. The movement has staged protests and rallies in various locations across Canada and even prompted a food strike by Chief Theresa Spence.