‘Idle No More’ returns will rallies marking 250th anniversary of Royal Proclamation

Matthew Coutts
Daily Brew
Students watch Phil Fontaine and Bob Rae speak on Idle No More at the University of Winnipeg on Wednesday.

Idle No More supporters gathered, chanted and marched in towns and cities across Canada on Monday in a campaign to garner respect for First Nations communities on the 250th anniversary of an agreement that secured land rights for aboriginal communities.

From Dundurn Castle in Hamilton, Ont., and Ottawa’s Canadian Museum of Civilization to a public square in Edmonton and a Vancouver art gallery. The Idle No More movement planned protests in as many as 40 locations across Canada on Monday, with more scheduled to be held in other countries.

Today was chosen because it is 250th anniversary of the day King George III signed the Royal Proclamation, outlining a framework around aboriginal community and protected lands in what would become Canada.

[ Related: Idle No More protests mark proclamation's 250th anniversary ]

Since that peak, a rift has grown between First Nations and the rest of Canada which prompted a massive rally earlier this year under the name Idle No More, powered by the strength of social media. The hibernating hash tag returned to Twitter’s trending list on Monday as demonstrations were held across the country, including on the steps of Ottawa’s Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn Atleo called for the support of all Canadians and urged that the Royal Proclamation anniversary be used as an opportunity to "reflect on and reset" the relationship between First Nations and the rest of Canada.

"The 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation is about reflecting and focusing on the work we must do today to act on our commitments to one another to drive change together," Atleo said in a statement.

"Today and every day we must recall the intent that brought all our ancestors together so many years ago, and ensure that the principles of mutual respect, mutual recognition and partnership are our guides going forward to achieve a better life for all of us. Too many First Nation children, families and communities are challenged on a daily basis to meet basic standards of life because we are not living up to the promises in the Treaties and other agreements that stem from the foundation of the Royal Proclamation."

Atleo also encouraged Canadians to participate in demonstrations held across the country. Idle No More has a full list available here.

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Also notably, the demonstrations occurred on the first day of a week-long visit to Canada by the United Nations' Special Rapporteur James Anaya, who has come to investigate the country's relationship with its indigenous community.

"I will be looking at the issues faced by First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in Canada, including in relation to matters of reconciliation, governance and self-government; lands and resources; and health, education and economic development,” Anaya said last week.

This round of Idle No More rallies did not make the same amount of noise as previous iterations, but consider the British Proclamation anniversary appropriately noted.

Hundreds marching in support of global #Oct7Proclaim & #PowerShiftBC day of action in #yyj #INM pic.twitter.com/q4h7DhYvWX

— PowerShift Canada (@PowerShiftCAN) October 7, 2013

@CTVNorthernNews #Oct7Proclaim #idlenomore4 Round Dance Henvey FN Hwy 69. pic.twitter.com/SjCAeHC1S6 — Randy Restoule (@RestouleR) October 7, 2013

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