adam barker on idle no more and canadian politics
Adam J. Barker, ‘A Direct Act of Resurgence, a Direct Act of Sovereignty’: Reflections on Idle No More, Indigenous Activism, and Canadian Settler Colonialism’, Globalizations (Published online: 27 Oct 2014).
In the winter of 2012, the Canadian political scene was shaken by the emergence of ‘Idle No More’, a collection of protests directed by and largely comprised of Indigenous peoples. Originally, a response to a variety of legislation that was being passed through the Canadian government at the time, Idle No More spread across the country and around the world. In this paper, I argue that, drawing from Indigenous nationhood movements that extend back through five centuries, Idle No More represents a renewed assertion of Indigenous sovereignty in opposition to settler colonisation. Through transgressive actions, Idle No More has brought online activism into alignment with embodied defences of land and place, challenging Canadian sovereignty and Settler identity in multiple and creative ways. However, settler colonial tendencies in Canadian politics have sought to reinscribe Idle No More within established, generic political binaries. This paper positions Idle No More as a ‘movement moment’ that reveals significant insights about Indigenous activism, conservative politics, leftist resistance, and persistent settler colonialism in Canada.
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