This is the verbatim transcript from a conversation with Vi An Diep, who stood in solidarity with the Idle No More movement. She was asked by the local Idle No More leadership to represent her Asian heritage as the Medicine Wheel color of yellow, fulfilling the traditional Aboriginal Medicine Wheel circle of four colors symbolizing the four nations of all humanity. Idle No More is a global movement to heal Mother Earth, led by First Nations of Canada.
Flashmob – December 14th, 2012
I was just wandering in the mall. I hadn’t been wandering in the mall for a long time, and I found myself just wandering. It was the second floor. I noticed a big huge Christmas tree and I walked towards the Christmas tree. Underneath my feet was frosted glass. I was standing there admiring the tree and all of a sudden, I hear drumming. I was wondering where the drumming was coming from.
All of a sudden, I was surrounded by drummers and dancers. I quickly realized it was a flashmob. I had no idea what the topic was, and then I saw a few signs. Up to 175 men and women, occupying three floors of the mall, were carrying signs saying, “Idle No More”. And there were security guards running right up towards me. Then, I said this was a friendly flashmob and they backed off and they stood on the perimeter of the mob just making sure everything was peaceful. I looked around and I noticed people were mostly Aboriginal.
I remembered reading about Stephen Harper and Bill C-45 and then I talked to ladies with pamphlets. They gave me a little more information and the Facebook page. I stayed until the whole crowd dispersed. I had an overwhelming sense of joy and hope. Then I made my way home.
March from Nosehill Park to 14th Street Bridge – January 13th, 2013
[After December 14th] I kept looking up various Idle No More Facebook groups and events. I got an invite for this one. I posted on the event wall, asking for a lift to Nosehill, and was informed by one of the head members, Carmel Crowchild that we had to be there before 9am for the pipe ceremony at Nosehill. There would be elders present, and a sharing circle. The next day I was picked up by a van with five women, including the sister, daughter, son and cousin of Crowchild.
In the van, Crowchild was very happy that I was a part of this peaceful ceremony for the cleansing of Mother Earth dedicated to future generations of Canada, and that I represented the Yellow Nation. She needed representation from four colored nations. Red, Black, White and Yellow, all were present. We got to Nosehill and they were setting up a square tent. Apparently they said it was similar to one from the old days when they had signed the treaties. Officials wouldn’t go into the tipis, so they had to erect a different style tent. They set up that for the pipe ceremony. Stoney and Blackfoot Elders were present. We got smudged before we entered.
The morning was cold with quite a bite in the wind, but the sun soon emerged at its fullest and warmed up a tiny bit to a comfortable temperature. We wrapped up the pipe ceremony. She was also very proud that she was able to gain the attention of by-law and different levels of Calgary Police to be present and escort us safely.
The pipe ceremony symbolized the suffering of humanity, and the elders had informed Crowchild that the quicker she carries the pipe to the destination for the river ritual, cleansing Mother Earth ritual, the quicker the suffering of humanity can come to an end. So it’s depending on how quickly we get the pipe to the river ceremony, determines how long humans need to suffer needlessly.
I walked beside Crowchild and four cop cars, including one by-law vehicle were in front of us, making sure that oncoming traffic would stop. There was though a little commotion and miscommunication between by-law and Crowchild, who expected that the pipe be allowed to have smooth movement even through red lights, and that there would be no delay.
Getting the pipe to the destination would end the suffering of Mother Earth and the people. By-law was a little bit difficult, but eventually everyone came to a peaceful compromise. The pipe made it to the river, which was under the 14th street bridge overpass, in a timely manner. There we performed the cleansing of Mother Earth ceremony together with the other colored nations present, which concluded the intention of the day.
When I came home, around 6:30 p.m. I quickly got word on Facebook that they were occupying the bridge. There was a confusion between Crowchild and one of the head organizers of the Idle No More Calgary movement with regards to some letter that was written. [The letter] stated that the young warrior men would stay and occupy the bridge until Mayor Nenshi or some MLA would show up and have peace talks. This aggravated Calgarians because the bridge was blocked until 10:30 p.m. until it was finally peacefully concluded.
There were rumors of mischief charges against people who came back to the bridge, but as of the past few days there has been no word of any charges laid. The investigation is still underway about who made the initial occupy statement. They will get down to the bottom of that because the intention of the day was not to occupy at all.
As a participant of this most peaceful and heartfelt ceremonial march, I was overcome by a vision of the Thunderbird at my back while I was walking behind the cop cars. With no traffic on our side of the road, I felt a great peace, hope and liberation for Mother Earth and future generations. I felt the wings of the Thunderbird meld with my shoulder blades and I felt strong, I felt humbled, I felt like I could achieve anything that I put my heart to from now on, having had this gift to walk beside my new sister.