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Actor Adam Beach says Idle No More, a First Nations movement that began in Canada last year, is a wakeup call for aboriginals and non-aboriginals worldwide.

The flash mobs and peaceful protests organized under the Idle No More banner are meant to educate Canadians and to bring attention to First Nation’s 150-year struggle for proper living conditions and violations of their treaty rights.

“Idle No More has made a change in our consciousness,” says Beach. “It has really created a dialogue. Social media has been showing the strengths and unity of our people, but also the relationship and responsibilities that government has for our treaty rights that haven’t been lived up to.”

Canada’s Indian Act, regularly criticized as being racist and paternalistic, is plagued with time consuming bureaucracy. Beach says if he ever wanted to grow tomatoes for sale on the Dog Creek reservation in Manitoba, where he is from, he would need permission not from his band council but from the federal government.

“The government has a track record of not being accountable for the services that [should be] provided for treaty status Indians. Why aren’t there enough schools? Why are there boil water advisories? It’s insane that there are these third world conditions. I grew up seeing families with these so called “piss pots” in the corner, where there’s no running water, you have to go get it and go do your business in the corner. Those still exist. We’re living in 2013. What is going on here?

“We have got to say no. We have to stop playing this victim mentality that [the Canadian government] has a power of authority over us. The federal government cannot produce any document that gives them the right over our lands and waters. I wish a lot of Canadians would understand that.”

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