By Kenneth Jackson
APTN National News
Sitting in her home in Edmonton Tanya Kappo typed #Idlenomore on her Twitter account on November 30th to promote an event of the same name happening in Alberta a few days later.
It was retweeted by seven people.
And it shows no signs of letting up.
Idle No More became more than just a phrase or name; it’s an all encompassing feeling of First Nation frustration that has taken on a life of its own on social media websites. And it was the name of a country-wide day of action in various cities Monday that saw thousands take part in demonstrations to voice their displeasure with the federal government over legislation they say aims to rob them of their identity, land and self-worth.
APTN National News reached Kappo, 41, at her home and she said never knew it would become as big as it has.
“That was me,” said Kappo. “There it went. I had no idea. It was like, and it sounds cheesy and corny, but it truly was really magic. Each time I just put it out there and boom there it is.”
The Idle No More name was thought of by four women from Saskatchewan, including Sylvia McAdam. The women wanted to do something about federal government’s legislation like Bill-C-45 that First Nations people say will take away control of Aboriginal land.
They organized three different teach-ins to educate First Nation peoples on the issues and announced it on Facebook.
Kappo knew McAdam and wanted to help. She started her own Facebook event on Dec. 2.
She tweeted it and it was the spark of the grassroots movement.
Then, when several chiefs attempted to push their way into House of Commons on December 4th, social media websites followed their every move. Idle No More was how they communicated on Twitter. By searching the hashtag it lists each tweet in a column making it easy to track.
Kappo, a single mother of three children who is an articling student, said Idle No More has taken a life of its own. When people look to organize something in their community they use the name then the women help spread the word.
“A group of people just got together and decided to do something,” she said. “That’s the idea; to keep it organic.”
There’s more events planned following Monday’s rallies, including Dec. 21 in Ottawa on Parliament Hill. Winnipeg is planning on having another rally also on Dec. 21, as is Lethbridge.
There are two events planned for Friday in Halifax and Sydney, N.S.
Kappo said she’s been getting a lot of emails and calls by people asking what they can do next.
She’s been telling them to go their local member of parliament and voice their concerns.
Kappo graduated from the University of Manitoba in the spring and started articling in October.
“When I first started law school the idea was always Indigenous rights and I thought I would do international Indigenous rights,” she said. “I think it’s international that we have to go. That’s always what I believed. So when I started law school that was what was in my mind.”