While the federal government adjourns for summer break, they would be hardpressed to ignore headlines this week about their failure to ensure Indigenous peoples in Canada are thriving. A report released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Save the Children illuminates a stark reality for status First Nations populations: 50% of children are living in poverty. This came after a second report by the Canadian Human Rights Commission outlined how far behind Aboriginal populations are in regards to income and employment. All in all, the picture is bleak.
As a middle-class Canadian of European ancestry who has never spent much time on a reserve, I feel like it's not my place to speak for the #IdleNoMore movement. Allow me to clarify. I'm in solidarity with the movement -- even a staunch supporter of it, but only if the First Nations themselves are the ones leading the march.
I woke up just past midnight with a bolt. My six-month-old son was crying. He has a cold -- the second of his short life -- and his blocked nose frightens him. I was about to get up when he started snoring again. I, on the other hand, was wide awake. A single thought entered my head: Chief Theresa Spence is hungry. Her hunger is not just speaking to Stephen Harper. It is also speaking to all of us, telling us that the time for bitching and moaning is over. Now is the time to act, to stand strong and unbending for the people, places and principles that we love.