Below is a revamp an article I wrote that was published in berBice[MRKT] back in 2013. My lifelong friend, Cacy Forgenie commissioned this article for his website and though I struggled with a phenomenal amount of procrastination, writer’s insecurity and a general state of frozenness, this article was born. Thank you Cacy Forgenie for the asking. May your memory be for a blessing.
There is no such thing as old news especially when it comes to educating settlers like myself. I would not have been able to write this article without the help of Alex Wilson, PHD and the encouragement of both Cacy Forgenie and Yusuf Abdul-Qadir. But before you read the article, I want to ask you in joining me in giving space to the person who provided the forum for this to be published – Cacy Forgenie.
Tribute to Cacy Forgenie by Elizabeth Mariani
Cacy Forgenie, otherwise known as Boudicon was a brilliant writer, photographer, visual artist, journalist and activist. As a human and a friend, he was impeccably present and warm. He suffered, as we all do, with life and he made known his thoughts and expressions of how to mangle this suffering into a pulp of joy for bits and pieces of storytelling some of us were able to absorb, some of us were able to witness and some of us were only able to pass by. This storytelling is commonly called art. Cacy changed my life.
He was a good friend. He was my chosen family. When I saw him at Penn Station after almost 20 years, I burst into tears. We’d been chatting online and over the phone for so long, I had forgotten how healing his physical presence was.
You died last winter, Cacy and I’m still confused about it. I miss you terribly. You referred to Irwin, your love, as an angel when you first spoke of him. I could hear you smile. We all lifted with you. I love you Cacy and I am grateful we have met and loved each other as humans in the flesh this lifetime. Your work is not done. We are all still learning from you. May your memory be for a blessing. Thank you for publishing the article below. :::::::
IDLE NO MORE: WHAT IT IS & HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED (DETAILS)
In News on April 9, 2013 at 9:34 am berBice [MRKT]
*Please note some of the original graphics have been removed. This is the text of the article.
What is Idle No More?
Idle No More is a peaceful movement inspired in late 2012 after four women from different communities, Jess Gordon, Sylvia McAdam, Sheelah McLean and Nina Wilson, came together via Facebook to respond to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s (Canada’s George W. Bush) overhaul of the Navigable Waters Protection Act of 1882 – Bill C-45 in and around Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. That was just the beginning.
We’re still here.
Indigenous people still exist. In fact, in Canada, they are the fastest growing population. Sometimes people, in their blatant amnesia, speak of indigenous people as if they’re gone, done, defeated. Nothing could be further from the truth. A genocide? Yes. Total destruction? No. They’re here. They’ve been here and we need their help now more than ever. In truth, we need each other.
Idle No More wants you to be part of the rethinking, re-imagining, and restarting of the narratives of how Canada (and the USA) came to be.We all know it wasn’t a love story starring Columbus and the Queen of England. It’s time we swallowed our fear and bit the bullet. There is a new story to create, a true history to reclaim, one that involves all of us.
Idle No More is about reclaiming space in thought and land.
Yes, this is a shake up; but the boat, as you can tell, has been rocking, hasn’t it? This is not Occupy, which, like many movements before it, missed the bill in confronting the legacies of patriarchy, colonialism, rape culture, genocide and most of all, privilege. And, the term “occupy” to indigenous people, is the wrong term, another hallmark of unchallenged societal amnesia. Exchanging one smarmy patriarchy for another isn’t change at all. If you listen closely to Idle No More, you’ll be able to clock into the female energy grounding you.
We will not forget the women.
The founders of Idle No More Idle No More is focused on bringing attention to and addressing the multitudes of women and girls who have been murdered and/or are missing in North, Central and South America. Not forgetting the women also means activating the opportunity for all men, including indigenous men to relearn; men who may have taken on colonial formulae through the pressure of assimilation in defining their manhood, their space, their identity as men. This isn’t a party for anyone but it is work, good work which must be done.
You drink water, right?
Minerals, natural gas, oil etc., are finite and are not sustainable sources of energy. The environment is under threat everywhere on the planet but big players like the U.S, Brazil and Canada are taking their sweet time making solid moves to protect essentials like fresh, clean water and air. Lucky for us, indigenous nations can bridge that gap with their unique positions as sovereign nations. Because of this, nations like the Onondaga Nation (who have their own passports) can speak directly to other nations, even address the UN or the International Court at The Hague, on a nation-to-nation basis . This unique position can help respond to regulations and de-regulations that could harm the planet and can promote definitive actions concerning essentials like clean water, clean air, and good, clean ground to grow crops on. Want more? Expand your understanding of sovereignty. Make room.
“There is a spiritual aspect to speaking out for other peoples and other species,” says Alex Wilson, Idle No More. Whatever your path, however you connect to the ether, the divine, your God/Gods or even none at all, there is room for those who look out for others, who clear space through action and thought so that others can live and thrive. Yes. It’s like that.
Queerness and Gender Fluidity in the face of Colonialism
Idle No More is also focused on disrupting colonial notions of gender and sexuality. Launch this map for a look back. So you want to research the core of how patriarchy tried to stagnate a naturally fluid spectrum of sexuality and gender? Check out Leslie Feinberg’s Transgender Warriors. It’s worth the ride, trust me on this. *2017 update: I’d now add works by Julia Serano your to reading list.
“Take a look at yourself, take one good look.”
Guru, Gang Starr
People will be forced to examine their own belief systems especially regarding consumerism as a way of life. Down for the cause? If you’re down for Idle No More, you’re in solidarity. This is not just an indigenous movement. This is an Everyone movement. One of the founders, Sheelah McLean, is not indigenous and identifies as a fourth generation settler.
This is an Everyone movement.
Join in solidarity and unite because this movement is more than a movement. It’s a tectonic shift. Major components of Idle No More actions have included chiefs fasting, youths walking 1600 Km (994 miles) to reach Ottawa, and teach-ins. Additionally, flash-mob round dances have taken place in intersections, in malls, in places you wouldn’t expect, even talk shows. Round dances are friendship dances and anyone can participate.
You up for this?
You’ll notice this article is chock-full of hyperlinks. Take advantage of these portals. They lead to good places. Places you can learn. Research that can lead to planning. Planning that could increase your food security, your access to clean water, and keep our air breathable. Like any dynamic shift, this beauty is evolving right before our eyes. You’ll want to remember this. Again, thank you for showing up.
Food for your brain
Elizabeth Mariani is a poet, visual artist teaching artist, and a fourth generation settler living in Vermont. Liz would like to thank Alex Wilson for her expertise and assistance with this article on behalf of Idle No More. Contact Elizabeth Mariani the following ways:
e.mariani.poetry at gmail.com