Idle No More (INM) has emerged as the most significant fourth world social movement of the twenty-first century so far. Responding to draconian and regressive legislation affecting Canadian First Nations' sovereignty, INM was quickly embraced as a movement for all fourth world and Indigenous peoples. This essay examines some of INM's inflections as a fourth world movement, looking at both its resemblances to and differences from earlier Indigenous social movements, and focusing on the United States. Even though INM emerged as a protest movement specific to attacks against Canadian First Nations' peoples, its concerns mirror the concerns of Indigenous peoples globally. But confusing media messaging has consistently misconstrued the self-determination demands in fourth world social movements since the civil rights era, more recently conflating them with environmentalism. Modeling the life cycle of a social movement, the earlier Red Power movement in the United States is seen as having become institutionalized, albeit within contested conceptions of self-determination. Since the passage of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in 2007, Indigenous peoples have a new protection framework to draw from, and the article examines how UNDRIP is being deployed by fourth world peoples, by INM, and in other local contexts, identifying its possibilities and shortcomings.
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Dina Gilio-Whitaker; Idle No More and Fourth World Social Movements in the New Millennium. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 October 2015; 114 (4): 866–877. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-3157391
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