A flash mob round dance inside a Wal-Mart in Ashland halted business for about half an hour Monday afternoon, as more than 50 people rallied to support First Nation people in Canada.
This is part of the “Idle No More” movement to protest Canadian government action that dramatically alters navigable waters protection there. First Nation leaders say that new law was passed without consulting tribes, ignores treaty rights and gives a free hand for mining exploration in sensitive areas.
Cari Lyn Chapman is a First Nation Eagle Lake Ojibwe who lives in northern Wisconsin. She was one of the flash mob leaders. She says Wal-Mart didn’t seem to mind, “We danced through a portion of the store. Everything came to a standstill from what I could see. People were interested and watching what was going on. A lot of people joined in and lots of people who were shopping stopped and they were videotaping.”
Chapman says the issues couldn’t be more serious though. And she draws parallels with struggles in her backyard, “Absolutely. I mean, we’re facing so many mining issues ourselves and these mining companies are coming back in. They’re going to still try to make a second run at mining here in northern Wisconsin. Treaty rights up there are being threatened and that affects Native people here as well.”
Along with the protests is a 12-day-old hunger strike by Attiwapiskat Chief Theresa Spence who hopes to get a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.