I sat on a plane tonight next to a hilarious woman from D.C. As we talked about what each other did, she was intrigued by my involvement in Native issues. And she asked a question that was actually pretty encouraging.
"What is this Native 'Idle' thing?"
She was talking about the Idle No More movment (its origins are explained well here,) that got a big push of momentum the past few months.
Many of the movement's gatherings have simply been going to a public (often political) place and singing, drumming and calling out to the people. It's essentially a big awareness campaign about abused/ignored treaty rights, violence against Native women, and really a lot of social Native issues that can be solved with more attention toward action and policy.
The woman's remarks were encouraging in that a non-Native woman from D.C. heard enough about it to wonder what it was. Native issues are often easily ignored, and treated as issues of the past, not the present.
While it's a movement in its infancy, and I think there needs to be some concrete goals with what the people want to do with it, it's clear that indigenous people across North America were ready to act on issues that have too long seemed impossible to get in the spotlight. And I'm hoping this also means people are also ready to listen - and act.