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Idle No More Grand Forks attracts 30 and MP Alex Atamanenko

Southern Interior Member of Parliament Alex Atamanenko participates in a smudging ceremony with Metis Patrick Stephenson during the Idle No More protest at Gyro Park in Grand Forks on Saturday, Jan. 12. Photo Erin Perkins.

More than 30 people braved the chilly temperatures to show their solidarity in the national Idle No More movement during a peaceful public protest at Gyro Park in Grand Forks, Saturday, Jan. 12.

 “This is not just an Indian thing,” said event organizer and local Metis Patrick Stephenson during his prayer. “This is for human beings and we need to keep it going forward … We are tired of the greed … Human rights are being walked upon and trampled. We are being lied to.”

The noon-time gathering began by walking and drumming in a circle of solidarity followed by a smudging ceremony, prayer and speeches. Protesters included the young, elderly, aboriginal, Doukhobor and everything in between, demonstrating that the event really wasn’t an “Indian thing” but concerned many Boundary residents.

“We have to realize the time has come – this is no longer acceptable behavior,” said Stephenson of greed and the pollution of our world.

We are being sold out as a country and land is left desecrated. What will we tell the little ones when there is no more water for them?

Even Southern Interior Member of Parliament Alex Atamanenko joined in before continuing on his way to an event in Beaverdell.

“Thank you for your words of wisdom,” said Atamanenko when he was invited to make a speech to the circle. “What you said echoes the feelings of those across Canada.”

He said that as a politician it is “frustrating” to get things done.

“We can only do so much because we are up against this corporate agenda,” he said, adding standing in solidarity is the only way to succeed. “Those in parliament need your support.”

“To see the support out here today for my people, and everyone in the world, is very moving,” said Metis drummer Tanis Sklapsky-Carson.

“We need to keep it going,” said Stephenson. “They’re doing this all over the place and its working and that’s the power of the people.”

Idle No More is a national movement aimed at bringing awareness to aboriginal issues and environmental issues affecting Canada and the world. It was started in the fall of 2012 by four aboriginal women wishing to make a change.

This was the second protest held in our region. To watch the Grand Forks movement go to IDLE NO MORE Grand Forks on Facebook. The next event, a teach-in, is scheduled for Saturday, Jan.  19 at the Anglican Church in Grand Forks at noon.

To see more about the movement go to www.idlenomore.ca.

To view video of the event check out Les Johnson’s GFTV site at : http://youtu.be/aPUKBMk6qOQ for the short video or http://youtu.be/280Wuy1avQg for the long version.