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Red Lake Tribal Council backs Canadian rights movement

RED LAKE – The Red Lake Tribal Council voted unanimously at its Jan. 8 meeting to support a treaty and environmental rights movement in Canada.

The grassroots movement, known as “Idle No More,” dates back just two months but has gained a serious following and significant media attention through rallies, teach-ins, and social media, a news release issued by the council states.

According to Keith Lussier, a Red Lake member and treaty rights advocate, the Red Lake Tribal Council may be the first tribal government in the United States to support the efforts of Canadian First Nations by resolution.

The Council calls on the government of Canada “to uphold the honor of the Crown as it was committed in treaties with Indigenous Nations,” and further states that the Council calls upon the government of Canada to “step away from the disastrous strategy it has embarked upon… and to enter into negotiations that will restore the… government to government relationship established by the treaties.”

The resolution also states that the Council supports Chief Teresa Spence, who has been on a hunger strike since Dec. 11 in protest to poor living conditions on her reserve, and to support the Idle No More movement.

The Idle No More mission statement reads, “Idle No More calls on all people to join in a revolution which honors and fulfills Indigenous sovereignty which protects the land and water.”

The news release said the movement is referred to as the largest collective movement ever in Canada. There have been several flash mobs and dances across the U.S., including a flash mob that attracted hundreds Dec. 26 at the Paul Bunyan Mall in Bemidji.