PAWS: Power of the People

By Tracey Lennox, The Leader Post, December 3, 2015

The SEIU-West Aboriginal Committee has launched a new campaign called PAWS to spread awareness and smash myths; its ultimate goal is to enhance community ally-ship with indigenous peoples and movements. PAWS represents Power, Air, Water and Safety.

The recent federal election demonstrated the power of indigenous movements — an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women became an issue to which all candidates had to respond. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to launch an inquiry and we call on him to fulfil that promise immediately.

We stand by the belief that knowledge is power. Oftentimes, myths and stereotypes are spread on the basis of ignorance. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report is an important step and must be read in order to understand indigenous communities and movements.

Importantly, power does not come through government — it comes from the people. While indigenous movements have compelled governments to act, they only act because of the pressure coming from the peoples’ movements. Lobbying is just one tool for social change — what is most important is building people power.

Indigenous people demonstrate their building power in their voice, their song, their dance, their drum, and their elders and teachings; Idle No More is only one example of this power.

What is particularly powerful is the ability to fight colonialism and attempted genocide; the unwavering commitment to indigenous identities, cultures, and sovereignty has secured their power, and we hope to contribute to this power.

To read the article online, click here.

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