I grew up in Richmond, California, of Yaqui / Mexican / Choctaw / Cherokee / European descent and became an activist in my early 20s. I began as an anti-nuclear activist in the early 1980s. I later worked on uranium and plutonium issues, as well as Native American issues.
My husband and I, as well as other Bay Area Native American community members, had been involved a bit with Occupy in Oakland. When Idle No More (INM) started in Canada in November of last year, we became very excited. The First Nation’s message regarding treaty violations and protecting the environment from governmental and corporate devastation resonated with us and with many others around the world. It was inspiring to see the Idle No More solidarity photos on social media from around the world from both indigenous and non-indigenous people.
There are so many issues that have affected us in Native America for hundreds of years that are now impacting U.S. and Canadian citizens. These issues include the theft of lands for corporate profits, environmental illnesses from the waste of the mining industry and other corporate environmental disasters, as well as the devastation of the land, water and air.
In December, 2012, there were local INM solidarity events beginning in the Bay Area and Northern California. These events included, and continue to include prayer, teach-ins regarding the devastation of the environment, indigenous issues and round dances, which are dances of unity, friendship and peace. They have been conducted in city plazas, at the Capital building in Sacramento, in shopping malls and parks.
The Keystone XL pipeline was an issue that I had been active in resisting since 2011. I was at both of the protests at the White House that year. When Forward on Climate was being organized this year, I helped mobilize the INM solidarity community in the Bay Area to be there. We were also at the March 23 event at the Federal Building in San Francisco and at the Earth Day action in April. Not only were we welcomed at these events, we opened them in the Idle No More format of prayer, education and round dances. This welcoming of our community into the environmental activist community has been very validating, and reminds me of the prophesy of the “Rainbow Tribe” of people of all colors who will make a stand to ensure life on earth continues.
There are many Native American and First Nations prophesies that are hundreds of years old that speak of the time we all find ourselves in today. Some tribes refer to this time as the “purification time”. Most of humanity is only beginning to understand that there is a natural balance that must be maintained in order for life to thrive on Mother Earth
Many tribal nations refer to the “original instructions” that were given to them thousands of years ago on how to live in right relationship with all of relations who share life here.
The INM solidarity groups here in the Bay Area welcome all people of good hearts to participate with us as we move toward the future we all want. www.GatheringTribes.com