Return of the Native: Idle No More reminds Canada of unresolved issues with First Nations

First Nations protesters hold flags during a demonstration as part of the 'Idle No More' movement...

First Nations protesters hold flags during a demonstration as part of the 'Idle No More' movement on Parliament Hill in Ottawa December 21, 2012. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)

Sherry Noik, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:13 PM ET

Idle No More forced Canadians to look at its age-old "Indian question" in 2013. The mostly peaceful mass protests of 2012 gave way in 2013 to hunger strikes, road and rail blockades and even a battle over an unsanitary burger shack, in an escalating demonstration of just how disenchanted First Nations are with federal policies.

For some bands, land claims and self-government remained the principal issues, as was illustrated by the case of the unsanitary and illegal burger shack run by Natives on disputed land in Caledonia, Ont., where aboriginals would not recognize the jurisdiction of municipal, regional or provincial governments.

But, for the first time, increasingly the dialogue centred on Canada's Native population, about a million strong, getting their piece of the pie — a say in how natural resources are extracted, and their share of the payoff.

 


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