Idle No More themes explored

Robson Community School the location of informational session

Friday night turnout for an Idle No More 'Teach-in' on March 1 at Robson Community School. Jessica McLeod (4th from right) and Shemmaho Goodenough (3rd from right) organized and led the informational effort.

The Idle No More movement, so much in the news in past months, has not wound up even though its profile may have lowered of late. Such is the assurance from Jessica MacLeod and Shemmaho Goodenough.

MacLeod – daughter of a Northern Alberta Cree Chief and Goodenough – a concerned citizen and designated elder in the Castlegar area, teamed up to present an event labelled an Idle No More Teach-In on March 2 at Robson Community School.

The effort was designed as a vehicle for enhancing public awareness of aboriginal issues.

“A teach-in,” explained Goodenough as attendees arrived, “is an educational opportunity. We’ve gathered information and also bring our own experience to talk about Idle No More, which is basically an educational movement.”

Environmental issues are of great concern to the teach-in hosts, specifically fresh water issues. Goodenough brought up the topic of decreasing federal safeguards over water resources.

“We feel like its really dangerous for all Canadians,” she said. Other points related to mining, pipeline construction, and natural gas “tracking.”

McLeod pointed to federal legislation which she feels is being hurried along with too little public input being sought.

She supplied a sample item from the table full of printed handouts to back up her claim that growing environmental trouble likely lies ahead.

“Bill C45 which has passed, and is law, allows companies and pipelines to come without having to be environmentally accountable,” said MacLeod.

“They want to exploit the whole North all the way across,” added Goodenough.

The dozen or so who had accepted the invitation to the teach-in formed a circle with the hosts and heard presentations from each of them, starting with MacLeod who shared her personal history.

Born in an area about four hours north of Edmonton, MacLeod remembers a peaceful, enjoyable early childhood in spite of the lack of many modern amenities.

Major upheaval occurred following her parents’ separation

and the arrival on the scene of the second father-figure in her life, a man from Grand Forks. Moving to the Boundary Country was a big adjustment and caused much difficulty in her life. Introduction to smoking and drinking at an early age added to her troubles. “I was questioning everything,” she recalled.

MacLeod said that even though at one point she had denied her culture, the annual high points of her life were the summer trips back to Alberta. She has made it to where she is today, enjoying “a cultural resurgence… I am a proud Cree woman,” she concluded.

The theme of Goodenough’s presentation was “Colonization of the Mind.”

Also having provided a brief bit of personal background, Goodenough came equipped with an assortment of relevant reading material from the Selkirk College Library, a source of information she recommended to the group.

Ending Denial: Understanding Aboriginal Issues, by Wayne Warry was the first. She spoke on various points made in the selected volumes as they were passed around the circle.

Goodenough touched upon the history of European colonization, too much of which was based on the idea of aboriginal inferiority. She promotes the concept of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginals working on their common problems as partners, and declared, “People need to talk, establish a dialogue in order to understand each other.”

The other books focused on were: With Good Intentions, by Celia Haig-Brown and David A. Nock, and Peace, Power and Righteousness, by Taiaiake Alfred.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two overdose deaths in Nelson over the weekend

Police warn that much of the current drug supply in the city may be dangerous

Cottonwood Lake Society announces $15,000 in new funding

The Nelson Rod and Gun Club and Royal Bank of Canada have chipped in

Nelson and RDCK both eyeing waste wood to produce energy

Nelson’s five-year-old business plan will resurface at council table this summer

Investigation ongoing into death of Warfield woman

West Kootenay Traffic Services and BC Coroners Service working on the case

Castlegar students say thanks to local RCMP

Robson Community School students show up for RCMP Appreciation Day

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

Trees Cannabis director fined $1.5M for selling marijuana

Fine follows provincial crackdown on popular dispensary

World Cup skier from Okanagan dies suddenly at 19

Kuroda, who made his World Cup debut earlier this year, passed away suddenly Monday night.

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Budget 2020: B.C. Liberals blast ‘Netflix tax,’ lack of economic plan

ICBC rates still go up, except in election year, Shirley Bond says

Teen snowmobiler from Kelowna found after air force’s overnight search

The teen had been missing since just after 6 p.m. on Monday

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

Most Read