I have some issues with the position of some players within the movement.
I abhor the term "settler-Canadian" when it is applied to individuals and think it is a
divisive, counterproductive frame. Why? Because I am not not my ancestors. I am not a coloniser. I am not a settler. I have only one country of origin and I am aware of my privilege. Regardless of the past, how many generations must I descend from before I am considered native to this land?
I think radical scholars like Taiaiake Alfred are ultimately ethnocentric Indigenous separatists who preach an essentialist notion of indigeneity. I find them to be populists, dismissive of anyone regardless of ethnicity, who hold perspectives outside of their limited worldview. When they spend hours on Twitter indulging in macho posturing, they appear ridiculous. When they post images like this, they imply support for violence and can inspire terrorism.
I find disgusting the way this has turned into a pissing contest of authenticity between different groups of Aboriginal people. My Métis friend and Indigenous scholar, heavily involved in Indigenous issues, is in tears after being dismissed by "full-blood" Aboriginal people as inauthentic, some "white" pretender who is not allowed to have a voice. Straight out of Fanon, and later, Said.
However, none of this messiness, which should be expected in any such resurgence, should detract from the desperately needed conversation that Idle No More is forcing. A radical change in the relationship between Canada as a state and Indigenous people is in order to finally resolve the issue. Canada is a colonial
state with a perverse relationship between the descendents of the
original inhabitants and the original colonisers. We, all of us, still think act and think through regressive institutions and understandings.
This must change, and it could get very messy before it gets better.