Idle No More: A Movement Started by 4 Women in Response to Bill C-45 - Essay Sample

Published: 2023-09-15
Idle No More: A Movement Started by 4 Women in Response to Bill C-45 - Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Women Social activities Society
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 924 words
8 min read


The “Idle No More” movement was established by a group of four women who were based in Saskatchewan. The women include Jessica Gordon, Sylvia McAdam, Nina Wilson, and Sheelah McLean. Their motivation for setting up the movement came from pending legislation that they felt affected not just the First Nations People, but Canadians in general (Lorenz, 2014).

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The Conservative government wing introduced the Bill C-45 legislation, which had an impact on several acts. This bill would allow the government to cash in on reserve areas. The companies that acquire them would then come and explore the precious resources that exist therein, without due regard to the effects the exploration has on the environment or the natives. Their primary concern is the profits, and this comes at the expense of anything else.

Some of the notable changes by Bill C-45 on the acts include; 1) the Navigable Waters Protection Act has been made so vulnerable such that industries used to extract resources from the waters can be set up much more comfortable with minimal restrictions, or no concerns for the effect they pose on the waters; 2) the Fisheries Act now does away with the legal restrictions imposed on oil and pipeline extractors such that, they will incur no liability on any damages they cause on the environment within which they operate (Woons, 2013).

The first channel through which the founders of this movement expressed their concerns was via Facebook. Gradually, the movement attracted attention from many Canadians, and they eventually went to the streets to advance their cause. To gain more attention, they used teach-ins, rallies, and round dances in supermarkets all over the country. Further, they made use of long walks and treks that ended up inflating their numbers. As it grew in support and numbers, they set aside national days for which they would deliberate on their actions and what would come next.

As the movement took shape, it not only gained support form the natives but the non-natives as well. The campaigns began in Canada, but slowly spread out in the U.S. and overseas as well. From its website, on the “Idle No More” World Day of Action, which took place on January 28, 2013, over 50 different events were witnessed in Canada, the U.S., London, France, and Greenland. In further support of the movement, the media regularly highlighted their grievances and poked holes on the Bill C-45.

The ultimate goal is to protect the environment, i.e., lands and waters, from invasion and destruction by the government. They seek to prevent further exploration that has done more harm than good to their environment. Their motivation is driven by their inherent native rights to a sovereign land, the treaties signed by the nations vowing to protect the land, and the traditional laws they cherish and hold dear. The general feeling is that with each passing day, where the rights and demands of the natives are not honored but disregarded, it lays a foundation for inequality between the natives and the settlers to thrive.

“Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women”

The “Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women” movement is concerned with the unchanging and persistent patterns of violence meted upon women by men and overtly ambitious industries while they grab land owned by these women, and at the same time killing them should they resist. The concerns of the relatives and families of the missing women are usually shushed by the police, and written off as “runaway” cases. The government has continuously looked the other way and has proceeded to implement and facilitate laws and policies that work to the benefit of these violent men and factories.

In the United States, indigenous women are sexually harassed, assaulted, and killed at soaring rates in comparison to other countries. These crimes are often perpetrated by those that are not a part of the native community. Further, as the natives are mostly found in remote areas, the crimes are meted upon them in places with no jurisdictional affinity. As such, it is almost impractical for them to seek recourse.

With the growing occurrence of such violence and the movement gaining momentum, the police, policymakers, and the public, in general, are finally paying attention. Persistent pressure from the First Nations women forced the government of Canada to commit to an inquiry, which yielded a tremendous response. People took to social media and trend hashtags, creating awareness and alert.

A further show of concern from the government led to publications that indicated the extent of these atrocities. Such extended to neglect and discrimination from the stakeholders tasked with helping to solve the matter. In response, the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, which had so far failed in protecting indigenous women, was re-enacted in 2013. It provided jurisdiction within which recourse for those who were victims of such a form of violence would be sought.


Admittedly, more needs to be done to win the war against this crisis. The momentum that has already been picked up needs to be facilitated by passing more reforms on legislation. Persistence from the grassroots movements from both aggrieved parties and non-aggrieved parties to continually keep the policymakers on their toes.


Addressing the Epidemic of Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. (2020, March 06). Retrieved June 26, 2020, from

Lorenz, D. (2014, February 10). What Is Idle No More and Why Is It Important? Retrieved June 25, 2020, from

Woons, M. (2013). Commentary: The “Idle No More” movement and global indifference to Indigenous nationalism. AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, 9(2),172–177.

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Idle No More: A Movement Started by 4 Women in Response to Bill C-45 - Essay Sample. (2023, Sep 15). Retrieved from

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