Idle, No More – The Indian Protest

Tonto was asked by the Lone Ranger what his wife’s name was.  The native replied, ‘Three Horse”.  “Three Horse?  That’s an unusual name.  What does it mean?”  And the old Indian said, “Nag, Nag, Nag!” (Sorry ladies)  But the truth be known, that’s not my joke.  It’s from Clarence Louie, Chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band in British Columbia.  And that isn’t all he has to say.  Let me explain.  Clarence Louie grew up in abject poverty on the Osoyoos Indian reserve in B.C..  His parents toiled in the nearby orchards of Washington State.  Clarence studied hard at school, graduated from university, and returned to the reserve.  Elected as chief at the young age of twenty-four, he dedicated himself to breaking the cycle of government dependence that dictates the life of so many aboriginals.  And thirty years later, with just 460 members, the Osoyoos Indian Band is now a self-supporting economic enterprise.  They operate numerous businesses including (a luxury hotel spa resort, an award-winning vineyard, a cement and construction company, an eighteen-hole golf course, a gas station, a retail store, etc.).  The reserve employs 700 people and contributes $40-million a year into the local economy.  Chief Louie and his council have also settled all outstanding land claims with the provincial and federal government, expanded their holdings to 32,000 acres, built their own school, health-care facility, cultural centre and instituted programs to retain their heritage.  Thus when it comes to “Idle No More,” Clarence Louie can truthfully say – “I was never idle in the first place.”
His Advice To Fellow Indians

● “Blaming government?  That time is over.”

● “Our ancestors worked for a living, so should we.”

● “My first rule for success? Show up on time.  My second rule for success?  Follow rule number one.” 

● “Get off welfare.  Get off your butt.  Join the real world.  Go to school, get a job.”

● “My goal is that not one of the people on our reserve will ever collect a welfare cheque.”

● “Quit your sniffling at Ottawa.  Stop whining about 100-year-old failed experiments.”

● “The economy, not culture, should be the number one issue for us.  It’s the number one thing for white people and it should be the number one thing for natives.  I won’t go to a meeting with the government unless it has to do with creating jobs that make money.”

● “The biggest employer on a reserve shouldn’t be the local band office.”

● “You’re going to lose your language and your culture in poverty.  You can keep it with success.”

● “Government aid shouldn’t be based on native entitlement but on native performance.”

● “We all need to be scolded.  The government needs to be hollered at.  I need to be.  Everyone needs a good kick in the rear now and then, including aboriginals