Idle No More came to Langley on Saturday afternoon.
With cooperation from Willowbrook Shopping Centre and Langley RCMP, organizers taped off a section of the mall’s southeast parking lot for what was promoted as a peaceful, respectful event.
Non-natives and natives came together to voice their concerns about the Bill C-45 Omnibus Bill.
INM supporters believe the Conservative government bills beginning with Bill C-45 threaten treaties and the indigenous vision of sovereignty.
“The treaties are the last line of defence to protect water and lands from destruction,” stated Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper Turtle Clan, Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs.
Reduced protection for streams and rivers, and issues with the federal Indian Act are at the root of much of the INM movement, said Michael Harris, who organized Saturday’s event.
Kwantlen First Nation members were part of the ceremony, welcoming all those in attendance with drums and song.
“I’d like to thank the creators of this event for acknowledging the traditional territories of the Katzie, and the Kwantlen, and the Semiamhoo First Nations, and I’d like to welcome each and every one of you brothers and sisters to our traditional territory that’s shared amongst the three nations, here,” Kwantlen spokesman Chris Thomas told the gathering.
During the ceremony, Thomas told the Langley Advance that it was a “high honour” to have the INM event held in Kwantlen territory.
“The reason why it’s so important is, it connects us back to the phrase ‘all my relations,’ meaning it connects us back to our Mother Earth, the sky nation and the water nation, the four-legged, and the swimmers,” Thomas said. “This is what we’re fighting so hard to protect here, today, as First Nations people.”
Idle No More is growing stronger, Thomas said.
“It’s also world-wide, here, as well,” he added.
Non-natives came out to show their support during the event, a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by Thomas.
“That’s what we’re trying to do – we’re trying to reach out,” he said. “[Bill C-45] is not only affecting our First Nations people, it’s going to affect all Canadians in general, because it has to do with our natural resources and our habitat.”
Education was a key focus for the event, said Harris.