300 gathered in Penticton’s Gyro Park to take part in the Idle No More “One Heartbeat across Turtle Island” rally on the Winter Solstice, Dec. 21. The rally, part of a movement to protest the federal conservatives’ omnibus bills C-38 and C-45 and support Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike, was synchronized with similar groups across the country.
Grand Chief Stuart Phillip explained that the federal government’s reaction to the Attawapiskat situation is typical of the eroding relationship between the federal government and Aboriginal peoples.
“Quite frankly, the grassroots people are enduring crushing poverty on a daily basis. Aboriginal Canadians feel a deep sense of betrayal on the part of the Harper government,” he said, adding that the movement has grown beyond the Aboriginal community.
“Idle No More is not an aboriginal movement solely. It’s a movement that is attracting Canadians from all walks of life who are similarly fed up with the contempt that the Harper government has for the democratic values of this country and the parliamentary process,” Phillip said. “There is a coalescing of different groups and organizations across this country like never before.”