The Idle No More movement may not be front-and-centre in national media coverage right now, but that doesn’t mean Aboriginal students, staff and alumni at Simon Fraser University have forgotten about it.
The global grassroots movement aimed at getting the Canadian government to resolve longstanding Aboriginal economic and social issues movement came to life last fall.
On Monday, April 8, starting at 11 a.m., SFU students, alumni, faculty and staff will come together to hold an Idle Nor More rally at the Burnaby campus.
The campus community has organized the free, public event with the support of several SFU organizations. They include the First Nations Student Association (FNSA), the Women’s Centre, the Office for Aboriginal Peoples (OAP) and the Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group.
Several FNSA members and community members will speak until about 3:00 p.m. at Convocation Mall and Freedom Square.
“We want to educate the general SFU population about Aboriginal peoples today, our histories, and also to raise awareness about the many common misconceptions that are prevalent in our society about them,” says Lindsay Wainwright. The SFU biology student is a key event organizer.
“We believe that decolonization in Canada needs to be a group process that involves both indigenous people and settlers. We want to help the SFU community to understand what decolonization means and why it's important. Our hope is that people who attend the rally will be inspired to take action and learn more.”
Among the speakers at the event, which will feature First Nations drumming and singing, are SFU history associate professor Elise Chenierand Jennifer Allan.
Chenier teaches courses on the history of sexuality and Canadian social history. Allan is a First Nations human rights advocate, activist and founder of Jen’s Kitchen, an advocacy, outreach and food relief service for women in Vancouver’s survival sex trade.
William Lindsay, OAP director, says: “This event exemplifies how SFU Aboriginal students are leading community discussion about issues of importance. Such students are educated about the Idle No More movement, they are tech savvy and they have the core leadership skills necessary for putting something like this together. I am proud of them.”
SFU was among the first of the British Columbian universities to stage an event aimed at generating discussion about the Idle No More movement. OAP co-held an old fashioned teach-in about it in early January.
Simon Fraser University is Canada's top-ranked comprehensive university and one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 120,000 alumni in 130 countries.