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Friday, Jan 25, 2013, 8:16 pm

Vital Signs: Shaming Shell; the Future of Idle No More

By Rebecca Burns

Chief Spence Ends Hunger Strike: This Thursday, Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence agreed to end her 42-day hunger strike. Spence’s strike was a driving force behind Canada’s Idle No More movement for indigenous rights, but had also elicited calls from the Attawapiskat council to either end her protest or step down as chief. Though Spence did not achieve her aim of a “nation-to-nation” meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Governor-General David Johnston, First Nations leaders are pledging that the struggle will continue. In a piece published at Rabble, spokesperson Pamela D. Palmater argues that the movement is broader than any one issue or protest:

              When asked what do we want, that question can be answered in two parts:

In the short term, Canada must withdraw the suite of legislation impacting First Nations, amend those omnibus bills which threaten our lands and waters, and restore the funding that was cut to our First Nation advocacy organizations and communities;

In the long term, Canada must set up a Nation to Nation process whereby First Nations and Canada can address many of the long outstanding issues related to the implementation of treaties and sharing the lands and resources.

Shaming Shell: For its high-risk exploration of one of Earth’s last natural paradises in search of planet-killing fossil fuels, this year’s Public Eye “Shame Award” goes to. . .Shell Oil! Each year, Greenpeace and the Berne Declaration present these “awards” outside of the World Economic Forum “for particularly glaring cases of companies' greed for profit and environmental sins." Demonstrators “presenting” this year’s awards in Davos on Thursday highlighted Shell’s high-impact exploration of the Arctic, as well as the role of Shame Award runner-up Goldman Sachs in the financial crisis.

The Arrest-less Inauguration: The Metropolitan Police Department made no arrests during the inauguration this year, for which more than 2,600 additional police officers were employed. Ahead of the event, the National Lawyers' Guild released a report on the militarization of protest policing surrounding National Special Security Events (NSSEs). As Allison Kilkenny noted at the NationMSNBC reported that no protest permits were even requested. In fact, at the request of the Obama Presidential Inaugural Committee, the National Park Service revoked the permit for a “Speak-out of America’s Unemployed for Jobs and Justice” that was to be held in Freedom Plaza during inauguration day events.

Rebecca Burns, In These Times Assistant Editor, holds an M.A. from the University of Notre Dame's Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, where her research focused on global land and housing rights. A former editorial intern at the magazine, Burns also works as a research assistant for a project examining violence against humanitarian aid workers.

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