Archive for Saturday, January 12, 2013

Native Americans, supporters put on flash mob demonstration in South Park for Idle No More

January 12, 2013


People watch from the South Park gazebo as more than 200 Native Americans and supporters participate in a round dance Saturday to raise awareness about the Idle No More movement. The movement calls for First Nations people to stand in solidarity in the U.S. and Canada to protect Indigenous rights, their land and water.

People watch from the South Park gazebo as more than 200 Native Americans and supporters participate in a round dance Saturday to raise awareness about the Idle No More movement. The movement calls for First Nations people to stand in solidarity in the U.S. and Canada to protect Indigenous rights, their land and water.

Hundreds of Native Americans and supporters participate in a round dance in South Park on Saturday to raise awareness about the Idle No More movement.

Hundreds of Native Americans and supporters participate in a round dance in South Park on Saturday to raise awareness about the Idle No More movement.

An environmental battle in Canada came to Lawrence Saturday afternoon as hundreds of Native Americans started a flash mob and demonstrated on behalf of the Idle No More movement at South Park on Massachusetts Street.

The movement promotes awareness about a Canadian bill that Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat First Nation and her people are fighting. Spence has been on a hunger strike since Dec. 11, drinking only water and fish broth, to bring attention to Bill C-45, which activists say infringes on land- and water-related treaties, and changes the approval process for leasing tribal land.

Since December, Idle No More protests have been happening around the world in countries including Colombia, Chile, and Puerto Rico, according to ABC News.

The local flash mob was more than just a quick dance — it had spiritual overtones that were symbolized by drums, eagle feathers, sage and cedar. Participants circled in front of the park's gazebo and danced a round dance, or friendship dance, and periodically let out a traditional battle and celebration cry. In the center of the circle, singers hit their hand drums in the rhythm of a heartbeat and belted out round-dance songs in a native tongue. A nearby man prayed while he burned sage and cedar to bless the dancers. Many of the people prayed for Chief Spence as they danced.

“This is a powerful, symbolic display of solidarity with our relatives north of the border,” said Dan Wildcat, a professor at Haskell Indian Nations University. “Any time we can inform the larger community about issues that are affecting native people, much like the issue we’ve been struggling with for 20 years on the South Lawrence Trafficway, I think it’s good.”

“Justice takes centuries,” said Mike Ford, a Baldwin City resident and flash mob participant. “This is a beginning.”

After the flash mob, some of the dancers gathered at Four Winds Native Center, 1423 Haskell Ave., for a potluck dinner and to meet the organizer of the event, Susan Laubsch-Robinson, a Lawrence resident and board member at Four Winds.

Laubsch-Robinson was motivated to start the flash mob after attending one in Kansas City, Mo., two weeks ago. She also wanted to support her First Nation family members in Canada.

“I think the younger generation needs to feel like they have a voice and an outlet,” Laubsch-Robinson said. “They also need to see that through peaceful actions, like Idle No More, that they really do have a chance to change things.”

She said one reason why Native Americans in the U.S. have been so passionate about Idle No More is because similar issues are being debated here, and there is a lot of Native American anger stemming from issues such as land and water rights, boarding schools and reservations.


ThingTwo 5 years ago

Although your sentiment is noteworthy, the government still recognizes tribal sovereignty and no matter how much you think we are "indivisible", there are thousands of indigenous people living on reservations that would disagree with your philosophy. This protest is about Canada trying to break treaties and making the populace aware of this injustice. This is not about "natives" against whites.

Sean Livingstone 5 years ago

Reservations aren't "natural" in the first place, but just most "people" learn to think they are.

tomatogrower 5 years ago

And who created those reservations? It was the governments. They didn't want any of the natives "contaminating" the European settlers and teaching them to be different. The reservations were created to keep Natives in one place, so they wouldn't get violent, because people were stealing their lands. Just because Natives have turned the reservations into their communities, and not "integrated" enough for you, just says you are either ignorant of the facts of history or you are a racist.

Kat Christian 5 years ago

Well said Thing Two. Until the Government treats Native Americans as equals you can't even begin to day we are all one nation of people "indivisible". Governments continue to STILL break treaties with the Native Americans and STILL take their land. You need to do the research of how much reservations are shrinking. I know what this protest is about and I was livid when I saw a recent documentary on it. They are taking their land to drill for oil, using the underground water the needed to feed a lake which produces salts they not only use in spiritual rituals, but as their livelihood. This has been their way of life FOREVER and Government wants to destroy it with regard to the population living it. And Big B can be so flippant about it.

justme2 5 years ago

@thingtwo, just ignore the trolls. I am quite sure all the racist, red-necked trolls will soon be posting. Par for course.

Tim Quest 5 years ago

A "red neck" would infer that one skin, no? Poor choice of words.

Frank A Janzen 5 years ago

"Red neck" refers to the sun getting on the neck of folks working outside, not to the color of their skin.

Liberty275 5 years ago

I've heard it refers to the bandannas worn around the neck of coal miners.

Food_for_Thought 5 years ago

Haha, wow. You need to do a little research about the origin of the term, "redneck"...

Alyce Hernandez 5 years ago

Well said!! This "flashdance" was to promote awareness of the whole Idle No More Movement. Lets save all the racist remarks for another day and concentrate on what the whole Idle No More Movement is about. Look it up at

Liberty275 5 years ago

"there are no 'indians"

There are more than a billion of them.

tomatogrower 5 years ago

Indian was a name given them by the Spaniards. Old Chris Columbus was a failure. He wanted to be in the East Indies. He wanted to go to China, not to the "New World". The Natives of the "New World" were here a long time before that. They weren't from India. Just because the mistaken name stuck, doesn't mean it's right. Go back to history class.

Liberty275 5 years ago

Have you checked the population of India?

geekin_topekan 5 years ago

Racist come out with the predictable "Native-born", "We are all Americans", I am surprised no ne has brought up the land bridge theory as a feeble attempt at covering up that laws have been, and are being, broken. Regardless of who was swinging from what tree, it fails to hide that laws are being broken with impunity today. that is fact, not theory.

Yes, Custer was native-born. The rest of us are Umon Hon, Dine, Creek, etc.

Liberty275 5 years ago

I wonder where you draw the line. Who were the aboriginals and who were native Americans. I'm not sure we had Cherokee 15,000 years ago but that is when some people think America was first populated.

ddayot 5 years ago

Why a flash mob? Why not just gather? Or is that what we call getting together now?

Alyce Hernandez 5 years ago

That's right NO POLICE NECESSARY...Just a quick "Flash Dance" and then off to the gathering. !! Good thing too because it was real COLD!!!

Mike Ford 5 years ago

Idle No More is a reaction by First Nations people in the Canadian Provinces that were created from indigenous lands of First Nations People. The same is true of the lands the US was created from. Stephen Harper decided he and the Canadian Government wanted to return to the days of deceit and dishonesty that still mostly exist here. The First Nations of Canada have said Idle No More and other communities are giving credence to them as was done when the Mohawk warriors at Oka stood up to Quebec citizens wanting to expand a golf course on Mohawk burial grounds in 1990 and 1991. Just like wanting to build a trafficway on the grounds of a government sanctioned forced labor camp for young Indian kids a century ago. Some people are just insanely oblivious to the offensiveness of their actions. Idle No More is a reaction to the dismissal of agreements and the destruction of tribal lands in Manitoba for tar sand oil and many other grieviances committed against the First Nations by the Canadian Government. Sexual abuse at government boarding schools in Canada only ended in the 1980's and the legal settlements were to be set aside by the Harper Government which is why the First Nations People reacted as such. Please start realizing when and why people are angered and stop being historically oblivious americans is my message.

tra16 5 years ago

Bekka I'm so happy you got something published in the newspaper especially since it's for our people!!!:) great story.:)

Mike Ford 5 years ago

Actually disappointed regressive I've been to Ontario and Quebec to numerous communities and a couple of pow wows in my past travels. No wiki's in my memory... lazy people use wiki. The anger I speak with is earned and justifed. As Zach De Lo Roca of Rage Against the Machine once stated....."Anger is a gift".

adagio 5 years ago

I wish I had known that this was happening, as I would have attended in support. As a Canadianiving here, it would have connected me to an important cause. I am glad that this happened though. My friends and family would be appreciative of the support.

Bill Lee 5 years ago

I was shocked to see the word "Haskell" appear in the article until I realized it was a reference to the street, not the university on the south side of town. Haskell students and activities are generally ignored by the LJW. The athletic teams don't get as much coverage as the junior highs do. Is this the result of racism or ignorance?

Haskell Indian Nations University

Haskell Indian Nations University by Bill Lee

Paul R Getto 5 years ago

Being good Americans, they are. Protests are part of our rights and heritage.

kansanbygrace 5 years ago

No, LD, they're just seen as silly and marginal for the fact that they didn't start any protest until 7 years after the government enacted the heinous abuses.

Old_Oread_Phart 5 years ago

editors: The activity described was a protest with signs, that occurred at a scheduled time, and may have included native American dancing and percussion, but hardly represents what is popularly understood as a "flash mob."

parrothead8 5 years ago

Good article. I like this writer, and I hope the LJW keeps putting her on good stories.

Bob Forer 5 years ago

What's wrong with "stirring things up" oletimer. Our founding fathers were rabble rousers. With your attitude, we'd still be controlled by the British. .

drillsgt 5 years ago

Wildcat is a state recognized ndn..he turned in overtime to go down and act like he's something..I listed to him talk ..he's clueless

Frederic Gutknecht IV 5 years ago


It's sad that it's not considered murder if it's government sanctioned. It's also sad that it's sometimes considered murder if the government says so, despite the fact that one may simply and only be protecting their land and rights.

It's also sad that the same people who are arming themselves to circumvent and fight governmental inadequacies and illegal governmental actions at this point in history are the same ones who are denying, even righteous, protests against past governmental atrocities.

SnakeFist 5 years ago

That's an excellent point. Anti-government conservatives don't trust the government as far as they're concerned, but won't admit that the government has and is treating natives unfairly.

Liberty275 5 years ago

"There seem to be quite a few angry white folks"

I don't see any anger and a only a smattering of faux outrage.

tomatogrower 5 years ago

Do you "People" know that this movement is trying to save the Canadian waterways, so all "People" will have clean water? Yes, this is about power. The power to keep greedy people from ruining the land we live an depend on.

Liberty275 5 years ago

That isn't what benthebull said.

"the point seems to be what this whole Idle No More movement is all about. And how canadian tribal people have begun to show their disapproval in the canadien government's treatment of tribal people both historically and presently."

Nothing about waterways there.

Liberty275 5 years ago

Seems like you need the lesson. You say it's one thing, tomatogrower say's it's another. You two figure out what you are complaining about and get back with us.

Liberty275 5 years ago

"the point seems to be what this whole Idle No More movement is all about. And how canadian tribal people have begun to show their disapproval in the canadien government's treatment of tribal people both historically and presently."

patkindle 5 years ago

If you really think your federal government wants to protect And take care of you, just ask any native American Indian

Mike Ford 5 years ago

drillsgt......the Yuchis are separate culturally and historically from the Muscogee but yet they and some Shawnee, Natchez, and Yamasee, and smaller Creek communities like the Apalachecola, Hichiti, and Kialegee communities were removed in the early 1830's to Indian Territory. In essense Mr. Wildcat is an federally enrolled Creek member even as the Yuchi function independantly within the Creek Nation. The Natchez Nation based in Gore, Oklahoma does the same thing. I grew up across the Mississippi River from Natchez, Mississippi in Louisiana for a short time and it makes me happy to know that the White history books are wrong as usual and that there are at least six thousand Natchez amongst the Creek, Cherokee, Chickasaw, and also a state recognized tribe in South Carolina where those people went in 1747.

Liberty275 5 years ago

I think he was commenting on "flash mobs" which have morphed into well orchestrated events. As for earthy and boring, there is nothing wrong with that. That describes most of the people in the world.

KSWingman 5 years ago

You had a potluck dinner in support of a hunger strike?

That's funny right there. I don't care who you are.

Armored_One 5 years ago

All I can hear is Larry the Cable Guy now... Thanks... LOL

Mike Ford 5 years ago

no because the canadian government chose to go back to lying and stealing....

Liberty275 5 years ago

Historically, that has not proved to be an effective course of action.

Liberty275 5 years ago

I thought it was about waterways.

KSWingman 5 years ago

I can see it now...

Two Canadian MPs are sitting in a lounge in the Centre Block on Parliament Hill. One is reading a newspaper.

"It appears some Americans were protesting C-45," the MP with the newspaper said.

"Americans?" asked the other. "I never saw them."

"That's because they were in Lawrence, Kansas."


"Lawrence, Kansas. I saw it on a map once. It's aboot 1,400 kilometres south of Winnipeg."

"Damned odd. Why would Kansawegians, or Kansonians, or whatever they are, protest a Canadian bill?"

"Well, the article says Indians were part of the protest."

"What did we ever do to India?"

"Nothing. "Indians" are what the Yanks call their First Nations."

"But you still haven't told me WHY they were protesting!"

"Oh, right. Apparently, they are upset aboot some hunger strike amonst our First Nations, so they had a potluck supper in protest."

"Now you're having me on!"

"I'm serious!"


hethushka 5 years ago

My people have lived on this continent centuries before there even was an amerikkka

Liberty275 5 years ago

A few centuries. We were on this continent well before the revolutionary war. Some Europeans have been here even longer.

As for my family history, it starts where you's does, in the rift valley of Africa.

hethushka 5 years ago

we native tribes of this continent must stand in solidarity because what happens to one tribe affects us all whether its in canada or here in the US.

Liberty275 5 years ago

we people of European decent of this continent must stand in solidarity because what happens to one white community affects us all whether its in canada or here in the US.

That sounds like bigotry, doesn't it?

Mike Ford 5 years ago

yes, it sounds like your typical misinformed go profess bigotry proudly in public while claiming reverse racism in spite of your people using your corrupt laws to steal land and make rush limbaugh proud.

Liberty275 5 years ago

Do you even have land to steal?

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