Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence is now in the 21st day of her hunger strike, her demand to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper having so far fallen on deaf ears. It now seems that the chances of Spence becoming a martyr for her people (and thus all indigenous people) is looming menacingly on the horizon as news reports tell of her weakening state. In the meantime, other news and blog sites are emerging which are critical of Spence’s call to arms for the band council chiefs in Canada. One unnamed author of a blog called “Warrior Publications” seems to see it as a power grab by tribal leaders that disempowers the grassroots nature of #Idle No More movement, and even calls into question the motives of the movements leaders. Another notes the distancing of INM from the actions of tribal leaders, emphasizing instead the grassroots nature of the movement. Such positions minimize the sacrifice Spencer could very realistically make, assuming Harper continues to refuse to meet with her. The unnamed author at Warrior Publications seems to ridicule the power of non-violent protest, and is even critical of Ghandi’s use of hunger strike as a political tactic. It’s hard not to see this piece as counter-insurgent, dressed up in the language of anarchy disguised as an indigenous perspective. Regardless of it’s supposed critical analysis of Spence’s call, all it does is send a message of discord aimed at the INM movement. More now than ever Canadian First Nations peoples need solidarity, not division. We do well to remember that it was the agent provocateurs that brought down the social justice movements of groups like the American Indian Movement and Black Panthers.
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