Idle No More in St. John's - Understanding Eli

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Idle No More in St. John's

I had the extreme pleasure yesterday of observing (and supporting) a local Idle No More demonstration, which was intended to be part of a larger #J11 Global Day of Action. The flash mob drum circle demonstration in St. John's was postponed to a day later due to an epic blizzard which shut down the city. This didn't stop people from showing up to the Avalon Mall the next day in support though, as it was estimated that 200 people or more were taking part, supporting, and/or watching. I took some pictures while I was there including this one below (which happened to be used in a CBC article, credited as 'Twitter', LoL) shows the crowd, and does not even include those who gathered behind where I was standing:

Though the drumming and singing was peaceful, beautiful and quite inspiring, it's difficult to state that everything went smoothly. It appears that the security were set to shut things down before it even started. When I showed up about 10 minutes before everything was about to start, I was informed that the organizers were told to move along, that they were not allowed to drum and sing or gather where they were. It was rather shocking to me that, while the mall is privately owned, that they would want to dismantle this free entertainment... let alone push aside potential customers (who mostly all disbanded after to buy coffee or whatever else their hearts desired). To me, this was a silly move. I mean, have the owners, manager or security not been following this global story? Have they not realized that no other mall in Canada dismantled similar actions (that I've read or seen)?

In the end, there was some co-operation (thankfully) and the group were allowed to stay, for 2 or 3 brief songs before being asked to leave.

Though everyone was very much enjoying what they were witnessing and before organizers were even able to say a few words about the action and movement, the group was kicked outside into the wet cold sleety rain and snow. The group peacefully complied and they walked, while drumming, to the outside as a mass of supporters followed them.

They group drummed a couple more songs in the freezing wet rain and finished things off with a brief speech on what the movement was about while handing out flyer's and other reading material. I get the feeling that everything would have lasted a little longer had everyone not been getting soaked, but the spirits of all stayed high despite even that.

I'm extremely glad I got to witness the beginning actions for a local manifestation of a worldwide movement. Idle No More will not be going away any time soon by the looks of things, and I'm very much looking forward to where things go locally from here. I will personally be in full support!

To end things off, here's a few more pics should you be interested:

There is also some video footage of the event posted on YouTube if you're interested in searching for it. I do recommend checking it out!


maiawildwood said...

Thank you for your support! Nice article, too. :)

Stephen Eli Harris said...

My absolute pleasure!

Rick said...

Fantastic reportage, great pics. Good Job.

Stephen Eli Harris said...

Glad you liked it. I'll be sure to cover what else comes up locally if at all possible!