Cross Posted from The Star Phoenix
Canada Day revellers at Diefenbaker Park got an unexpected dose of indigenous culture this year when Idle No More supporters held a flash mob during Saskatoon’s July 1 celebrations.
Local Idle No More supporters held an unannounced round dance in between scheduled entertainment acts at the park’s main stage.
Diefenbaker Park, the centre of Saskatoon’s Canada Day celebrations, is a symbolic location for an Idle No More event in Treaty 6 territory, said Zondra Roy, one of the organizers of the event, before the round dance.
“We’re not here to battle anyone,” Roy said. “We’re to challenge the idea of Canada Day. We should be thinking more critically about what’s happening to this country and indigenous sovereignty.”
The flash mob — a seemingly spontaneous event organized via social media — started when a band on the Canada Day main stage ended its set. The supporters joined hands and round danced in the middle of the Diefenbaker Park crowd that was largely indifferent to the group. Some spectators joined the round dance and others simply kept their gaze on the stage where another band started its sound check.
Between 75 and 100 people were in the round dance at the end of the event.
“Today we are celebrating colonialism and that’s probably not the best way to celebrate this country,” Roy said through a megaphone as the dancers dispersed into the crowd.
The round dance was part of Sovereignty Summer, a series of events held by Idle No More supporters across the country focused on topics such as human rights and the environment.
“This a great time for us to resurface,” Roy said. “Idle No More was a catalyst to give grassroots people a voice to be heard on a bigger stage.”
Jamie Martell, 33, walked to Ottawa from Prince Albert with the Sacred Journey for Future Generations group, which finished its protest walk on June 21. He came to Diefenbaker Park hoping to turn some heads.
“They celebrate everything here,” he said before the round dance. “Why not put on a better show? We’re here to keep bringing awareness to the people … I hope everybody gets up to dance. Everyone should join in.”