Foreign Policy magazine has named the four founders of Idle No More—Jessica Gordon, Sylvia McAdam, Sheelah McLean and Nina Wilson—among its list of the 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2013 “for demanding that Canada not leave its First Nations behind.”
That’s how the magazine sums up the initiative of the four women who held teach-ins beginning in October 2012 to draw attention to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s omnibus budget bill, which many saw as gutting long-standing environmental protections and abrogating First Nation treaty rights.
Over the ensuing year, Idle No More burgeoned into a worldwide whirl of flash mob round dances, protests and other civil actions.
“The protests in particular targeted Canada's extractive industries, asserting that new pipelines and other projects would destroy land and disrupt ecosystems,” Foreign Policy said. “One protest delayed exploratory drilling in British Columbia.”
The movement is still strong today, the magazine noted.
“More recently, Idle No More staged nationwide demonstrations on October 7 to mark 250 years since the British Royal Proclamation, which created guidelines for European settlement of indigenous territories in North America,” Foreign Policy said. “Supporters say the movement also continues to give a voice to an often overlooked population.”
Gordon, McAdam, McLean and Wilson are in rarified company indeed, alongside the likes of supreme whistleblower Edward Snowden, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Pope Francis and Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Afghan student who was shot by the Taliban.
The venerable magazine has been publishing for more than 40 years and is a major source of international news for policymakers and world leaders that aims to “question commonplace views and groupthink and to give a voice to alternative views about American foreign policy” that maintains a “commitment to rigorous exploration of the world’s biggest issues,” according to its website.