'Idle No More' Movement Sweeps Reno

RENO, Nev. -- You might have seen protests around town recently with people drumming, dancing and holding up signs that say "Idle No More." It's part of an international peace protest by Native Americans against a piece of Canadian legislation and the local tribes aren't staying silent.

They've hit the Outlets at Legends, rallied at Meadowood Mall, stormed the arch downtown and have united at the Walmart at the Reno Sparks Colony, but it's only the beginning for the local tribes.

The local tribes beat their drums to the sound of injustice. "Idle No More" is a grassroots movement that has gained a serious following through flash mobs and social media.

"Everyon's been asking about it, you know 'what is this?' They're so curious. It's really nice to speak out and tell them what's going on, said Layce Roberts, a protestor. "When you tell them, their eyes open up."

It began in Canada when Prime Minister Stephen Harper passed Title C-45, a budget bill that will change the Indian Act and Navication Protection Act. It was initially made to help the economy.

"They're sneaking new laws and new bills and forcing ours out. We don't have a word anymore," Roberts said. "Sometimes we have to stand up and say 'no that's not ok.'"

Protestors say they were not consulted about the changes that will take away the land and water that was reserved to them long ago.

"They were promises. We like to keep our word and we would hope that the other person would keep their's as well," she said.

Protestors across the globe have shown their support for a tribe leader in Ontario, Chief Theresa Spence, who has been on a hunger strike from 29 days. She has vowed not to eat until the Canadian government shows more respect for Native American treaties.

"Even if it's happening in Canada, it's still our people, it's still our brothers and sisters; our family. It affects us in every way," said Summer
Dressler, a protestor.

Prime Minister Harper has agreed to meet with Chief Spence this Friday and organizers have already labeled it "Global Day of Action."

"It's been years so it's finally happening and you know it's not going to stop," Roberts said. "We're just going to keep it going and going even after they meet."

This Saturday, Jan. 12 at 2 p.m. under the Reno arch downtown, more than 200 local protestors will stand together in solidarity holding signs, dancing and singing as part of the movement.


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