In the news: Idle No More Ceremony Planned for US-Canada Border January 5
The meet-up at the famous Peace Arch monument – described as a “peaceful prayerful gathering of Indigenous women, supported by our Indigenous men, standing united – will see Indigenous activists and supporters rally their drums, songs and prayers for change on both sides of the border.”
“It’s a peaceful, prayerful action,” Kat Norris, spokesperson for the Indigenous Action Movement, told Indian Country Today Media Network. “We, the organizers, want to ensure that we are going into this with good and strong hearts. Doing this at the border, with our relatives from the other side of the border joining, we’re making a statement that support comes north and south, and east and west to join this. It’s a symbol of support for Idle No More and everything it stands for – and for Chief [Theresa] Spence.”
Organizers of the border gathering emphasized the event is a ceremony, not a blockade or disruption.
“It’s a ceremony with smudging, drumming and singing,” Norris said. “We’re following protocol – the other side will sing a welcome song. We will sing our song and why we’re there (…). There are many stories my mother and grandmothers shared of visiting our relatives. That border divides our families.”
Norris said that crossing the border has painful significance for many Indigenous Peoples, who once freely roamed through their territories before the arrival of Europeans or enforcement of their boundaries.
“It’s also a symbol that we do not see the border as an actual border,” she said. “It’s a man-created border. Historically, as Indigenous people, we’re supposed to be able to cross the border freely; our people did: they travelled all over Turtle Island. Every time we have to cross a border, it hits our hearts. It only reminds us of what we once had.”