Skip to main content
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication
SFU Student

Picture of all the social media
I know that the road may be long and perhaps the results will not always be favourable to me; but the lesson isn’t dependent on the results.

Do you ever find yourself repeatedly checking Facebook just to see if anyone has posted anything new? Have you ever deactivated your account only to find yourself logging in again after only a few days or hours? I know I have.

Sometimes during the midterm crazies or when I have procrastinated too long and my reading has piled up, I will foolishly deactivate my account believing wholeheartedly that this modern security marvel of ‘deactivation’ will somehow prevent me from frittering away my time perusing my newsfeed. At times, it all seems so useless to me; however, I have recently been witness to the empowering aspects of social media through the Idle No More movement.

Idle No More is a movement that gained momentum in December 2012 due to the passing of Omnibus Bill C-45. This Bill violates treaty rights of First Nations groups across Canada; as well as puts Canada’s environment at risk by leaving waterways vulnerable to foreign investors. Before the passing of this Bill, Canada had millions of protected oceans, lakes and rivers; after the passing of the Bill, we are left with three oceans, 97 lakes and 62 rivers that are undisturbed by the act. (Huffington Post)

Aboriginal groups alongside concerned citizens across Canada have organized hundreds, if not thousands, of peaceful rally’s to demonstrate their opposition to the passing of this Bill. There has been very little media coverage of this movement on mainstream television; however the power of social media has been the platform for which these rally’s have been organized and successfully executed.

When I think of social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, I don’t immediately recognize the potential these sites offer for active engagement in my community. The official Idle No More group on Facebook has to date, 47,866 members. In this group we share relevant articles and opinions; we ask and answer questions; we share when and where each new rally will be as well as pictures of the rally’s that have passed.

I recently joined Twitter in order to receive direct information from Chief Theresa Spence’s camp, who is hunger striking on behalf of her people at Attawapiskat First Nation. In December, we organized a ‘Twitter Bomb’ on Prime Minister Steven Harper, where thousands of people all tweeted @PMHarper at the same time, demanding he hear the voices of Canada’s citizens.

I was born with an analytical mind and a critical eye. I am often cynical of media in any form; especially that of news media, which is why I am a Communications Major. Participating in social media in this manner has left me feeling empowered, informed and most importantly, in control of my own consumption; these are feelings I am unaccustomed to in this regard.

The Idle No More movement has gained strength in numbers and momentum primarily through Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. By sharing ideas, goals, opinions, frustrations, solutions etc., we have begun to destabilize those institutions to which we are vulnerable. It has shown me that it is possible to balance potentially biased and inaccurate information that the top-down systems of newspapers and television often provide, with informed and varied perspectives.

I know that the road may be long and perhaps the results will not always be favourable to me; but the lesson isn’t dependent on the results. The lesson is to be awake in one’s own life. Whether it is through social media or on the bus or at dinner with friends; I have the power to help or to hinder, it all depends on my choices, my attitude and my ability to recognize their power.

I would never have guessed that Facebook would hold such a great kernel of wisdom for me, but through Idle No More, a movement that has come to represent a great many things to me, I have been awakened to the power of technology provided I use it with eyes wide open.

SFU Student
Christina Coolidge is currently attending SFU as a graduate student in the department of Communications. She is the Indigenous Program Researcher with the Career Services department. Christina is a member of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation and her matrilineal ancestry includes Metis (Cree and Scottish) from the Red River area. She hopes to help build a bridge between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous communities in order to better understand one another and to live together in a spirit of unity.
visibility  422
Jan 26, 2013

You Might Like These... Career Exploration, Indigenous Community Stories

The olympic torch
Olympic Sized Persistence Pays Off

If there’s someone who knows about the terrifying journey that is the work search, it is Marissa Nahanee. She worked on many world class events, including the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Torch relay and visits by Princes Charles and Edward. But Marissa’s job did not just happen to her - she had to work for it.

A picture of actor Justin Rain standing in front of a grey wall
We’re All Actors: CSI Interviews First Nations Actor Justin Rain

“Whenever there is an opportunity to share my experience with people, it usually doesn’t take much for me to jump on board,” states Justin Rain when I ask him about his experiences at a recent event co-hosted by Career Services and the Indigenous Student Centre, “Indigenous Peoples’ Career Stories.”

An indigenous grass dancer
Indigenous Career Services & The Dance of Success

My name is Mike & I'm originally from Little Black Bear’s Band in the Treaty #4 area. I am in my final year of a First Nations Studies degree. Our goal is to determine ways in which the Career Services team can better serve the indigenous student population.

You Might Like These... Indigenous Community Stories

Top view of the march
A Walk to Remember

I admit I had some misgivings about the Truth and Reconciliation events happening in Vancouver this week. There are so many layers to unravel and so many systems involved that I couldn’t decide where I belong. I took some time to reflect on what the purposes of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are, as well as who I am, in order to make a decision on whether or not to participate.

Unsettling Reconciliation

Since the Truth and Reconciliation Committee convened in 2008, reconciliation has been an issue on many minds but what is reconciliation? Here, three community members explore some of the issues and realities behind reconciliation. 

Aboriginal Front Door Society Banner
Volunteer Opportunities in Downtown Eastside

SFU Molecular Biology & Biochemistry student Ryan Danroth volunteers with Aboriginal Front Door Society (AFDS) as Harm Reduction Coordinator. They are currently looking for volunteers at AFDS.