Social media and Indigenous movement: #idlenomore

A major indigenous movement is taking place in Canada since November, calling for peaceful protests and manifestations, blockades – and overall an increasing awareness for the rights and conditions of the First Nations of Canada.

International attention for the Idle no more movement started seriously when Chief Theresa Spence from the Attawapiskat nation began hunger-striking on Dec 11th.
Briefly, the core issue of the movement is the legislation that implies limits of indigenous rights and the lack of consultation of indigenous people in decisions that concern them and their land. The official site provides updated information about the background of the movement and its process.

Idle No more, or rather #idlenomore – as it is often referred to in the news – is an example of indigenous social media mobilization. The flow on Twitter gives an idea of the debate, critics and support the movement receives internationally.
On the listing of, the hashtag #idlenomore is the number one trending topic among tweets in indigenous languages, as for instance North Sámi.

Twitter as the venue for the spreading of information and as a channel for support and sympathy illustrates how indigenous people the world over engage with an issue that might appear at first local and specific to a community (the Attawapiskat First Nation), a country (Canada) but that is in fact an issue of concern for many indigenous people – about the right to participation in decision through consultation and consent, about the right to the land, about contemporary relationships between the colonizer and the colonized.

#idlenomore demonstrates how digital technology offers the possibility for solidarity to emerge in a manner that can hardly be done through traditional and mainstream media. It is also a means for giving and receiving support beyond the epicenter of the movement.


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