Many of us Latinitas have indigenous blood in us. Curious to know more about my ancestry, I asked my abuelita about our cultural origins. She told me that my great grandfather was a huichol, part of a Native American ethnic group (known in Spanish as huicholes), living in the Mexican states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Zacatecas, y Durango. My abuelita believed my great grandfather was from the Durango region.
Native American groups have a long and arduous history of fighting hard for their rights after European colonizers came and took their land. Due to a lack of education on this subject, when many think of Native cultures, they are historicized and seen as a thing of the past. It's important to remember that that is far from the truth. Today, many Native cultures are alive and vibrant as ever. However, centuries of colonizing and oppression has pushed them onto land with few resources and into deep poverty. Many Native American groups in North America (Mexico, Canada, and the United States) must fight against big government legislatures for their rights for clean water, air, and their land.
Such is the situation in Canada, where recently passed Bill C 45, which lowers the level of consent needed in the process of designation and surrender of Indian Reserve Lands, violates the Indian Act and threatens the protection of millions of lakes and rivers across Canada. The bill makes it easier for the Canadian government to acquire land from Native peoples. Leading the movement known as Idle No More are four women belonging to the First Nations. The First Nations peoples are the Native American groups in Canada that are neither Inuit or Metis.
Nina Wilson, Sylvia McAdam, Jessica Gordon and Sheelah McLean, the four women behind the movement, have conducted teach-ins and have effectively used social media to bring awareness to their protest. Idle No More has seen the unity of First Nations and other Native American groups stand in solidarity with their cause. Hundreds of protesters have come out in Canada in support of Idle No More. The Movement seeks to protest Bill C 45 as well as other bills in the Canadian legislature that aim to continually decrease the rights of Native groups.
Idle No More is gaining momentum, and while the bulk of the action is still happening in Canada, it hasn't stopped other Native American groups from joining in solidarity. Equal in their struggle for land and education rights, as well as environmental protections, Native groups from Mexico have shown their support for Idle No More. In Oaxaca, Mexico, a mural was unveiled for last year's Idle No More Day of Action.
Oaxaca, Mexico solidarity mural.
Activists from all over Latin America have come forth in support of Idle No More. Idle No More isn't only inspiring people in the Americas; it has an international reach. Here are photos from around the world, taken in solidarity with the Movement:
Morocco, in solidarity.
The Idle No More movement has introduced a Manifesto, outlining their grievances with the Canadian government.
Do you know of any Native ancestry in your family? Please share in the comments section! Let's show pride for every aspect of our rich cultural histories.
For more information on the Idle No More movement,visit their website.
**For a more thorough understanding of Idle No More, please visit all of the links within this post. They will provide a fuller picture of the ongoing Movement. **