Over the last three months, Idle No More has taken North America by storm, blocking roads and trains, and flash-mobbing in community squares and shopping malls (and being summarily arrested for it in some places).
The movement is a response to hundreds of years of environmental rape and pillage by European settlers, who have generally shown themselves to be shitty stewards of this land (OK, "shitty" is generous). So why now?
Well, why not?
Idle No More has been particularly outspoken against tar-sands pipelines in Canada and the U.S. But the movement actually began this past fall in reaction to Canada's effort to weaken the Navigable Waters Protection Act so that it would protect only 97 bodies of water; it currently safeguards tens of thousands of them. It's expanded beyond Canada, but its roots are still up north.
Gyasi Ross at Indian Country wrote a primer on the movement, its motivations, and its goals:
It’s not a Native thing or a white thing, it’s an Indigenous worldview thing. It’s a “protect the Earth” thing. For those transfixed on race, you’re missing the point. The Idle No More Movement simply wants kids of all colors and ethnicities to have clean drinking water.