South Asians in Solidarity with Idle No More

Indigenous communities across Turtle Island (North America) are leading struggles against ongoing colonialism, capitalism and environmental destruction to protect their communities and lands and assert Indigenous sovereignty. Idle No More is a call to all non-native communities to recognize our complicities in ongoing processes of settler colonialism in what we call Canada. Canada has a colonial present, not just a history, that is built on the ongoing occupation and destruction of Indigenous peoples and nations. It is us, non-native communities, who have been idle for way too long. As members of communities of colour, we need to position ourselves in solidarity with Indigenous struggles against colonialism to protect all our communities.

We hear the call from Indigenous peoples, reminding us that we too are responsible to act against Harper and Canada’s conservative agenda to further destroy our treaty relations and relationships with unceded territories. It is our time to say that we will no longer remain idle and complicit. As a group of self-identified South Asians, we call upon our families, friends, and communities to join us in resisting Bill C-45 and the colonial state of Canada, in solidarity with Indigenous peoples and nations. We, as South Asians, may have varied histories and experiences of coming to and settling on these lands, depending on our gender, caste, class, racial, sexual, ethnic, and national identities. But we have all been marked by centuries of colonialism, and must recognize that our place on Indigenous lands is also complicated and facilitated by colonialism, capitalism and gendered and racialized hierarchies. Knowing how fractured our communities are due to racism, sexism, and classism in colonial Canada, we must realize how our colonized histories, and presents, are deeply connected to ongoing Indigenous struggles. We also recognize the importance of understanding the links between centuries of resistance to colonialism on occupied Turtle Island and the ongoing anti-colonial struggles for self-determination in South Asia, which shape so many of our lives here as immigrants. There are connections to be made between Idle no More and the many movements for freedom in Kashmir, Baluchistan, North East India, Tamil Eelam, Tibet, and Punjab. In recognizing that decolonization is an active process and not simply a declaration, we commit to putting our allyship into practice with Indigenous peoples everywhere, from Turtle Island to Adivasis in India, Chakmas in Bangladesh, Janjatis in Nepal, Vedas in Sri Lanka and many other Indigenous communities across the subcontinent of South Asia.

This is a call to collectively commit to decolonizing ourselves, our communities and our relationships with Indigenous peoples and nations. To this end, it is not enough to just take part in protests, marches, flash mobs – although our presence is necessary. We also need to develop an ethic of cultivating relationships with Indigenous sovereignty movements by learning the colonial nature of the Canadian state, the treaties and status of land claims on the lands we occupy, the historical and ongoing struggles of Indigenous communities and understanding our complicities on these colonized lands. Decolonization of Turtle Islands is not just an Indigenous issue. Idle No More and Indigenous sovereignty is not just the responsibility of Indigenous peoples. It is part of broader of anti-racist or anti-capitalist struggles. We need to join Indigenous communities in imagining and working towards a stronger and sustainable future for all by recentering Indigenous struggles, knowledges and worldviews.

We, the signatories, want to reflect, learn, talk and act collectively with our families and friends, and you. Lets join Indigenous communities on Idle No More Global Day of Solidarity this January 11, 2013 in our towns and cities. Lets show them our support and solidarity. In Toronto, look for us with the banner “South Asians in Solidarity with Idle No More”.

If you would like to endorse our statement, know more about the group and join us, please email us at southasianscgroup@gmail.com

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