About 150 Native Americans from various areas of Tennessee, including some from Lincoln County, joined together last Sunday afternoon for a peaceful flash mob round dance at the Cool Springs Mall in Franklin.
About a dozen drummers and singers joined in a song and called all of those present to join hands and dance in unity. The purpose for this protest and “Idle No More” is to show support to their Canadian First Nation brothers and sisters, as well as Aboriginal peoples, in their protest against the Canadian government, especially Prime Minister Steven Harper.
It is also in support of Chief Theresa Spence in her hunger strike. Chief Spence wants the prime minister, who was scheduled to meet with her and First Nations leaders on Friday, to discuss treaty rights and the government’s omnibus budget bill. In both Canada and the U.S., many Indians are living in extreme poverty.
During the flash mob, some participants displayed banners in support of the “Idle No More” movement and other issues related to Native Americans. Once the song was finished, participants respectfully dispersed.
This movement has also created more awareness of racism, Indian suicide rates, drug and alcohol addictions, which are much higher than other racial groups.
There are other serious issues, such as the disproportionate domestic and sexual violence against Native American women.
According to a report by the U.S. Department of Justice, 2000, American Indians are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual assault crimes compared to all other races. Seventy percent of the violence against Native American women is from non-Native American men, the report states.
“Idle No More” is receiving support from indigenous people throughout the Western Hemisphere, Europe and Native communities as far way as Australia and New Zealand.
Omnibus C45 and the resulting “Idle No More” movement, has served to draw First Nations people together to seek strength in their culture and a return to their traditions.