Today is the First Nations National Day of Action. According to organizers The Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the event is a chance for all Canadians to call for “immediate action to improve [aboriginal peoples’] quality of life.” Basically, bands from across the country are demanding the government work with First Nations to gain control of the programs, services and decisions that affect their lives. At noon, there will be a peaceful demonstration supporting the National Day of Action. Then the group will march from King’s College Circle to Queen’s Park, where participants can to enjoy music, food (mmm…bannock), dance, and inspirational words until 5 p.m. Sounds pretty sweetgrass to us.
But wait a second, a group of Mohawk protesters got a jump on the day by setting up barricades on a rail line and a stretch of highway in Eastern Ontario last night. And anarchists have declared July 1 to be Anti-Canada Day: The Real National Day of Action & Resistance. They are calling the AFN “collaborators.”
Are they trying to tell us that not all Natives share the same vision for the future of the First Nations? Does everybody in your family like the same kind of music? Of course they don’t. But while there’s dissent, all agree that the major problems in the community (land claims, poverty and poor education) have gone unresolved for hundreds of years and action is needed now. Last year’s Caledonia blockade is just one sign that these issues are reaching a boiling point.
Photo by Bahman. from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.