PSAC has developed Idle No More buttons to be distributed throughout the Prairie Region. William Singer III, a First Nations artist and activist who has been instrumental to the movement in Lethbridge and surrounding areas, created the button’s original artwork.
Though Chief Theresa Spence ended her hunger strike on January 24, the Idle No More movement is far from over and continues to gather support. The movement is about building relationships to strengthen the country for all Canadians in areas such as education, environmental protection, and effective democracy, and there is still work to be done.
To help keep the momentum going, PSAC has developed Idle No More buttons to distribute throughout the Prairie Region. William Singer III, a First Nations artist and activist who has been instrumental to the movement in Lethbridge and surrounding areas, devised the button’s original artwork.
Singer III created the felt tip sketch several years ago, but the design has since become the unofficial logo for the movement at local events.
“The hand and the feather represents an accomplishment, in a non-native aspect it would be a rolled up diploma,” explains Singer III. “It also represents the values of Idle No More: peace, unity, solidarity, and strength.”
PSAC members from Agriculture Local 30048 have been working closely with Singer III and other activists on the ground to build support and awareness of the movement in their communities.
“It really helps to have groups like PSAC on our side,” Singer III says. “It gives us the opportunity to grow and for other people to know that there are others that support us and we’re not alone in this. There’s a lot of people involved and a lot of people that want change and a better future for our people and our children.”
Environmental protection is a prominent part of the Idle No More fight, and it’s an issue that’s especially close to Singer III who hails from the Blood Indian Reserve, just 20 minutes outside of Lethbridge. The reserve is home to nearly 12,000 residents, whose traditional lands are now being subjected to environmental degradation due to fracking. This process involves drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside.
“With fracking, there’s a high chance of contaminating the water,” he explains. “Once the earth is contaminated with fracking fluid, there’s no way to treat the water. It ruins the land and causes mild earthquakes.”
According to Singer III, tremors and odors have been reported on the reserve within the past year and the water in the northern part of the reserve is no longer safe for drinking due to contamination.
“We don’t see the benefit in pursuing resources by destroying our land. First Nations have a lot to lose, but this affects all Canadians. We’re all in this together.”
To request Idle No More buttons for your Local or Committee, please contact your regional office.
Singer III is a self-taught artist living on the Blood Indian Reserve in Alberta. He works with all mediums, including oil, watercolour, and acrylic paints, pen and ink, and wood sculptures. Some of his past clients have included Parks Canada, University of Lethbridge, and Alberta Native News, to name a few.