Today, I’m bring you a simple message. We, First Nations people, need to begin to organize, communicate en masse, and get out the vote.
The reality is that we are a small, intimate group of communities and family. We all know each other or are affiliated with one another in some way. Even Anishinaabeg living in the city have effective networks. We can be a highly effective and active voting bloc.
There are dozens of ridings across the country that our vote can influence. From BC to Labrador. From Nunavut to Windsor-Essex. In all four directions, the strategic First Nations vote can be the Crown-maker.
What do we need to do this? First, we need coordination. We would need a nation-wide organization with an effective plan. How about an “election consortium” consisting of the six national aboriginal organizations: Assembly of First Nations, Native Women’s Association of Canada, Inuit Taparsit Kanatami, National Association of Friendship Centres, Metis National Council and the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples? Such a consortium would coordinate and bring about action through their grass-roots networks. We would also need significant local coordination and activism very much like the National Day of Action in 2008.
Most importantly, we need to begin making effective use of all communications media. We need to harness social media and make use of blogging and Twitter, which has only limited use by First Nations at present. Our message and action must not only be coordinated through online channels, we would need to obtain the support of all Canadians. That’s the key to any kind of campaign success really.
Not only could we use this to get out the Aboriginal vote, we can also use this organization and communication to be a highly effective civil disobedience bloc. Very much like the peaceful Tamil community in 2010. If the time comes when we must defend ourselves from a Harper majority and cuts to our rights, programs and livelihood, I hope that all of us – over a million people – will take to the streets, highways, railways and country roads. Even better, let’s ask the Tamils to join us in solidarity.