Idle No More supporters are planning a peaceful protest Saturday afternoon in Petoskey to show their support for the First Nations in Canada and protest laws that would open protected Canadian land.
Idle No More, the international movement, originated as a protest movement by the aboriginal people in Canada that has since spread to include Native American tribes and non-tribal members. The original intent is to oppose legislation (known as C-45) that among other things will overhaul the Navigable Waters Protection Act of 1882. The bill would open previously protected public lands and tribal lands to projects such as oil and gas pipelines.
The Petoskey demonstration will be a continuation of rallies held throughout Michigan to bring awareness to environmental regulations being relaxed and show the Native American voice in the state on the issue.
Last week, tribal chairmen and members from Northern Michigan stood on the Capitol steps in Lansing to oppose the environmental changes.
"It's always peaceful and respectful. It's not a revolution, it is more like an evolution about bringing about awareness," said Renee Wasson Dillard, a Little Traverse Bay Bands member from Harbor Springs, who is helping to organize the event.
Dillard said the movement is about "solidarity" for the First Nations in Canada, as well as voicing support for protecting the environment and lands as a whole in the Great Lakes region.
"Let's be truthful. We share water," Dillard said. "... Many of our relatives are just across the boarder. We have the same names, same clans as the Canadian people."
More than 100 protestors are expected at the event, which has been approved by the city of Petoskey.
The protestors plan to begin at across from Sunset Park at about 2 p.m. Saturday, before walking to Pennsylvania Park in downtown Petoskey. A hand drum-round dance with jingle dancers for healing are among ceremonies planned.
Dillard said the public and non-tribal members are encouraged to join to show their support for the cause and environment.
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