On Jan 28, 2013, a group of Cherokee citizen scholars and educators issued this formal statement of support and solidarity with the Idle No More Movement:
In Solidarity with the Idle No More Movement
We are writing as educators and Cherokee citizens from the Cherokee Nation, Eastern Band of Cherokees and United Keetoowah Band. Digadatsele’i (“We all belong to each other”), which was formed in 2009, supports the ongoing, grassroots struggles of our Indigenous brothers and sisters across the medicine line as treaty-based, sovereign Nations. The Idle No More movement is more than a reaction to the harmful legislation passed or proposed by Canada’s Harper government – it is about standing up to new threats to First Nations’ treaties, self-determining authority, inherent rights, and responsibilities to our waters, homelands, communities, and cultures. Whether north or south of the medicine line, our struggles are shared. As treaty-based peoples, we recognize and reaffirm that:
Idle No More originated and is sustained through the leadership of Indigenous women. Women are the strength of our communities and the colonial legacies of missing and murdered Indigenous women on Turtle Island must be confronted and addressed. The recent refusal to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act in the US further demonstrates a systematic failure to address ongoing violence against Indigenous women;
All of our futures depend on upholding our ongoing relationships to our homelands and waters. This is also about respecting Indigenous forms of traditional governance and relationships grounded in gadugi and the seven clans that have sustained our communities for thousands of years;
Indigenous treaties with governments such as Canada and the U.S. are not the only ones being challenged – our sacred covenants with other Native Nations and with the land, water, plants, animals, and all forms of life on our territories are at stake. The treaties must be upheld if our current and future generations are to thrive;
Educational self-determination is vital to the health and well-being of Indigenous Nations. Teaching our languages, stories, and living histories to our current and future generations is critical to our survival;
Several Indigenous Nations are split by the US/Canadian border, which crosses over their traditional territories. This transnational movement understands that borders cannot impede Indigenous liberation and unity. We also exhort Canada to recognize and practice its obligations to the provisions of the Jay Treaty (1794), Treaty of Ghent (1814), and other appropriate statutes when it comes to Indigenous peoples traveling across the medicine line.
We stand in solidarity with the Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island fighting for the future of Indigenous Nationhood – we will rise together to meet these new challenges as persistent and enduring Indigenous Nations. Digadatsele’i.