Toyota Leaderboard July 18/13 Oct 04/13 Feb 11/14

News archive for January 14, 2013

Idle No More: ‘No one is going to stop us’

As the long-awaited meeting among chiefs, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and federal government officials began Friday afternoon in Ottawa, Idle No More rallies took place across the country.

By Ainslie Cruickshank on January 14, 2013 at 3:54 pm


Photo by Anna Crawford

THE GOVERNMENT MUST LISTEN – Cherish Clarke is seen at the right in photo above during Friday afternoon’s protest. Below: the marchers are seen on Main Street.

As the long-awaited meeting among chiefs, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and federal government officials began Friday afternoon in Ottawa, Idle No More rallies took place across the country.

Despite chilly temperatures, an estimated 150 Yukoners, both First Nations and non-First Nations, young and old, gathered outside MP Ryan Leef’s office at noon, demonstrating the growing strength of the movement in the territory.

“Idle No More is not going to stop just because the prime minister is meeting with the chiefs today in Ottawa,” Cherish Clarke, the movement’s lead organizer in Whitehorse, told the crowd.

“Today is monumental. It is a day that will go down in history and a day that we will look back on with remembrance.

“It is a day that we will tell our children and our grandchildren about; it is a day that we stood united and proud and stood up for our rights,” she continued.

The crowd marched from Leef’s office on Second Avenue and Black Street south on Second, blocking southbound traffic, to the intersection at Main Street, singing and drumming the whole way.

At Main, the group paused and formed a drum circle, before moving down Main to the waterfront, where they congregated at the recently raised Healing Totem Pole.

There, First Nations leaders took the opportunity to address the crowd, including Kwanlin Dun Chief Rick O’Brien, who said the Idle No More group could gather on KDFN’s territory any time.

Champagne and Aishihik Chief James Allen highlighted the presence of non-First Nations people at the rally.

“This government is not only stepping on First Nations’ rights, it’s also stepping on all Canadian rights,” he said.

“They have had a free hand to pass any laws they want to open our lands, to open our resources to foreign investors that could take over our country, and I think the non-First Nations recognize that too.”

Northern Tutchone elder Mary Battaja added her encouraging words.

“We’re going to win this fight,” she said. “No one is going to stop us.”

In an interview Sunday afternoon, Clarke said she was pleased with the turnout at Friday’s event.

The only concern she had regarded a blue truck that drove past the marching group twice, appearing to swipe into the crowd.

“It just goes to show that the issue that Idle No More is bringing up is really polarized, and there are people that don’t really agree with the messaging or don’t understand what the movement’s about,” she said.

“Regardless, that’s not going to stop us. We’ll just keep coming from a really positive place of compassion just trying to build a greater understand within the movement and with the general populous.”

As Clarke said, Idle No More has not come to an end simply because the prime minister met with some of the First Nations leadership.

Idle No More Whitehorse has already been busy since Friday’s rally, holding an elders’ and youth gathering Saturday at the Kwanlin Dun Potlatch House.

Once again, Clarke said she was pleased with how the event unfolded.

“The elders reminded us that we need to stay spiritually grounded,” the young leader said.

“I was just so proud of everyone; everyone worked together and helped clean up the hall. It was just a really successful event.”

The group decided to hold Saturday’s event to ensure local elders were included in the Idle No More movement, which in large part has unfolded on social media sites.

Clarke said a phone list has been compiled so elders will be kept in the loop on local events, etc.

She was also thankful for a collection the elders had taken up for the Idle No More volunteers, raising about $300.

See separate story for reaction from Clarke and Leona Aglukaaq, the federal Minister for the North, regarding Friday’s meeting.

See related coverage in today’s local news, national news and commentary sections

CommentsAdd a comment

June Jackson

Jan 14, 2013 at 5:18 pm

I have been here for 35 years..and FN have been crying about something or other for 35 years. 
When this is over, it will be something else.

What are they going to do when the cow runs out of milk?


Jan 14, 2013 at 7:15 pm

The First Nations have been here a lot longer than 35 years, hundreds of years! I suggest you move back to where you came from June, problem solved.


Jan 14, 2013 at 7:17 pm

@ June J. if you had had to deal with any of what the FN peoples of Canada have had to deal with for so many years you would be less critical and condescending. Why don’t you take the time to attend the The Truth and Reconciliation meeting and gain a little understanding! These people don’t need “something else” as you so blithely put it; believe me that they have dealt with more than any group of people should ever have to deal with.

Right of Way

Jan 14, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Another news organization ran a story titled, ‘Reckless driver put protesters at risk’. Didn’t they put themselves at risk by walking around downtown Whitehorse on the streets? If I did that I wouldn’t be complaining about traffic. Give your heads a shake people and protest somewhere safe.
They hope the RCMP can apprehend the driver…. So the same government they are protesting is supposed to have its police watch their backs while they protest it and fly its flag upside down. Is this some kind of Orwellian novel or did I wake up in a episode of Twilight Zone?

Martin Oreste

Jan 14, 2013 at 7:36 pm

I travelled all over the Yukon, NWT, arctic and high arctic too and can’t help to notice the difference between the natives south of the arctic circle and the Inuit people is mostly the amount of complaint of what Canada has done for them.

Josie O'Brien

Jan 14, 2013 at 10:32 pm

June, we are not going to stand by while this government undermines our rights as Indigenous people and human beings. The government has been passing laws on our behalf, legislation that the government had a duty to consult. These bills are paternalistic and they also make it real easy for all the resources to be developed meaning the Yukon you came too 35 years ago will not be so pristine ever again.
As First Nations people we depend upon the land for everything, it is our church, our grocery store, our history, our culture and we are doing this in large part for the generations ahead of us. Yes it may be another thing again in the future as long as the government continue to keep this parental act up. Learn the history, learn about the cause and everything in it (which is a lot) then make a concise statement. This is not just an Indian problem…you will also be affected in more ways than one.
All I hear are people complaining about our rights, well we payed a high price. Through this government I lost my language, my culture, my spiritual beliefs and am just regaining that back. throughout history the Canadian education system have been teaching Indigenous people to not respect us (also true throughout the world)...break your cycle and begin your own healing.


Jan 14, 2013 at 11:03 pm

Stop crying June.

Yukon guy

Jan 14, 2013 at 11:19 pm

It’s a non stop cycle of crying and how hard down by these bands in Yukon have had it. Take a look at “Chief Clarence Louie of the Osoyoos Indian Band who doesn’t hold back when he’s ruffling the feathers of his First Nations peers: Stop playing the victim, give up the blame game and get on board with business and environmental issues!”
He also goes on to say ‘Blaming government? That time is over.’
And ‘The biggest employer,’ he says, ‘shouldn’t be the band office.’

Maybe it’s time local Bands stopped having their hands out for everything! Put your people to work!
The Osoyoos Band, 432 band members contribute $40-million a year to the area economy. They own a vineyard, a winery, a golf course and a tourist resort, and they are partners in the Baldy Mountain ski development. They have more businesses per capita than any other first nation in Canada.

If this little band can do it why can’t Yukon bands?
The government handouts need to stop! Go to work! Take a bit of pride!

Captain Obvious

Jan 15, 2013 at 12:32 am

It’s nice to see they all have jobs. I don’t think blocking traffic for people who are going to and from work is a good idea. Some of us have to work.

scott gammel

Jan 15, 2013 at 8:29 am

I don’t think the person driving the blue truck is very smart, and if found should be charged with reckless driving. The person who is flying Canada’s Flag upside down is being very Disrespectful to all Canadian’s and should be punished somehow also. We all have our own opinions and even if we don’t agree with others, should be respectful to all.

Jack Balone

Jan 15, 2013 at 11:23 am

The local Idle No More grassroots movement is simply an anti-conservative, anti-PM Harper political movement. Cherish Clarke, the movement’s lead organizer has strong ties to the Yukon Liberal Party and the Federal Liberal Party. Here are a couple of paragraphs from the Aboriginal People’s Commission page on the Liberal Party of Canada’s website.

““There are many Liberal leaders of the past and today that are working to improve the relationship federally between First Nations people across Canada, and Cherish is excited to take a larger role in these discussions.

Cherish stated that “It is an honor and a privilege to serve the country and the party I love. It is the inherent knowledge that as Liberals, we have the tools and understanding to strengthen the economy, protect the environment and build long-lasting partnerships for a stronger Canada.”

It would appear the Territorial and Federal Liberal Parties are using Idle No More as part of their political agenda. That is why the march started at MP Leef’s office.


Jan 15, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Anybody else find it odd that a “blue truck with a snowmobile in the back” passes by 200 Yukoners, twice, and that is the best description we can get?  Type of truck?  Type of snowmobile? Number and description of occupants?  License plate maybe?


Jan 15, 2013 at 2:01 pm

I see that a couple of folks have mentioned the Canadian Flag being flown upside down as disrespectful. Truth is that when a National Flag is flown inverted, it is a call for help, a distress call. The meaning here is correct.

As a former soldier, deployed to all kinds of places (Bos, DRC) , I pledged with more than words to stand by the right of Canadians to access their right of peaceful protest. Overseas, I witnessed the alternative, and wish all the pipe carriers and healers, on both sides of this conversation, to ensure that all are respectfully treated.

Not Impressed

Jan 15, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Cherish sounds like an outstanding young woman who is involved in positive activities. A role model for all people of Yukon.

The Environment does need to be protected and the blatant disregard for consultation by the yukon party seems to be a good reason to be involved in both political and environmental issues.


Jan 16, 2013 at 6:09 pm

‘No one is going to stop us’

Those who want to get jobs and become productive citizens will be encouraged, not stopped.  It’s up to you.


Jan 16, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Time to move on to another movement, While idle no more was a great start, its run its 15 minutes of fame and now its just getting annoying

yukon guy

Jan 17, 2013 at 8:37 am

“go back where you came from” and last night on the CTV news I hear “white man go home”
These are not nice. May I remind the People who think this that we all come from ONE Creator! I think that this is “OUR” land, as in all of us, not just “YOUR” land as in First Nations!
There are a lot of White people as well as many others from all walks of life who are supporting the cause, this kind of ignorance does nothing for the cause.


Jan 17, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Geez This Is Happening Now Around The World From Here To Damn Spain

not impressed

Jan 17, 2013 at 4:42 pm

There are alot of reports out there that show views of all people across Canada, so by this standard am I to say to yukon guy that all “white people” dont like the First Nations? No… we are all individuals and should not be classified by one’s voice of no reason. Let’s take a stand and say that the government has a duty to consult; the Peel Watershed has reports/consultations and recommendations that the yukon party has disregarded. Do we not live in a democracy?


Jan 17, 2013 at 9:02 pm

I think all white people should leave the Yukon. Leave it to the Natives and how it was. We will take our guns, our houses and all our modern technology. Have fun trying to stop Russia, USA, or any foreign country who decides to invade the Yukon for it’s natural resources. EVERYTHING is the white mans fault, didn’t you guys know that?


Jan 18, 2013 at 2:51 pm

@Yukon Guy

Yes, leave and take anyone who thinks like you with you.
If you think that only “white people” invented things you are nuts.

The only things people like you are good at are claiming things as their own.
You are a cancer that spreads by assimilation.

I hope we find a cure.


Community Minded

Jan 18, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Dear Yukon Guy and June Jackson

Come on people now,
smile on your brother!
Everybody get together,
try to love one another right now
Riggghhht Nooooow!  Right Now!

Empathize instead of criticize! It’s good for your soul.

bobby bitman

Jan 18, 2013 at 5:43 pm

If the battle up here is to stop the rampant and ridiculous exploitation of the Yukon’s mineral wealth, I support the cause.  50% of the people working in mining in the Yukon are not even Yukoners.  We do not need to ramp mining up more.  The Yukon Party disregarding the Peel Plan in favour of opening the entire Peel to roads and other development is a disgrace.  I hope the natives are there to fight this, as nobody is listening to good old whitey.  The Chinese are at the gates of signing a deal with Harper that would allow them to sue Canada in a secret international tribunal should their ‘expectation of profit’, be impacted by changing Canadian environmental laws.  We have pamphlets at Ec Dev in the Yukon written in Chinese, and ministers regularly visiting Communist government Chinese leaders and business leaders (often one and the same since the Chinese government itself owns many if not most of the large mining companies which are investing in Canada). 
Enough is enough.  I am very worried about the Yukon’s environmental future, and about this fire sale of resources that the so-called conservatives have been conducting for years.  It’s like they found the family jewels in the attic and can’t sell them fast enough at a yard sale, for 5 cents on the dollar.  They can brag about how great the economy is for a few years, then there is nothing left behind but holes in the ground, pollution and a vast squandered inheritance.

Go get ‘em!  I am with you.

Yukon Gal

Jan 18, 2013 at 10:59 pm

I believe its just childish behaviour the way ppl talk on this comment page. We all have different opinions about things. Obviously this is a very BIG DEAL if it is happening all over the world. Ppl should educate themselves more on whats happening, instead of accusing the white man for everything. I am half Native and Half German. So I honestly think it would be best if we somehow could work together to make things better for not only Natives, but for all Canadian citizens. I do not pick sides, and neither should anybody else. The racist BS has got to stop. It is the yr 2013 ppl. Time to work together, put the past in the past and make Canada a better place for everyone to live in. Simple as that. (And most of the time, its just bad management and un-educated Chiefs who make it hard for their ppl. They seem to care about money and their pay checks instead of whats really important. Helping their ppl. Can we all come to an understanding folks? Geeze!

Bob Graham

Jan 21, 2013 at 10:28 am

Proud to say I lived in Whitehorse for 3.5 years as my Dad was in Army. Knew many Indians & played hockey against Indian Mission School team. FN has many legit complaints & some that aren’t. I support their efforts on protecting our land & wildlife but think they also need to put more effort in helping themselves on social issues. 53 years ago, as a kid returning from hockey tournament in Dawson Creek by bus, the driver picked up an elderly native going a few miles up the Alaska Hwy. & he stood in the aisle talking to us kids! His last words were, if you are to remember anything about our talk,remember my people “listen to the land, we listen to the wildlife, we answer, we shall protect you”. Good advice for all Canadians!


Jan 22, 2013 at 3:02 pm

In an era of humanism, division based on race or culture is pointless within a nation. We’re all “mutts” in Canada.
Welcome to modernity.
Colonization was a global event. Thinning bloodlines was key to it (Read Atwood or Robinson).
This generation complaining about a problem they have no stake in is pointless. The native/aboriginal identity is becoming thinner everyday. Using english to complain about a problem… just promotes the irony of it.

Add a comment

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your full name and email address are required before your comment will be posted.

Commenting is not available in this section entry.

Comment preview