Martin Luther King Jr. and Idle No More: Same Spirit

by on April 21, 2013 - 11:10pm

“The greatest sin our time is not the few who have destroyed, but the vast majority of who sat idly by.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. was an Afro-American civil right activist and was the leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He played a significant role in the advancement of civil rights through the use of nonviolent civil disobedience. He led the Montgomery Bus Boycott that occurred in Alabama in 1955. The boycott that lasted 382 days led to the end of racial segregation in public buses in Montgomery. Two years after, he created the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with other civil rights activists to coordinate the civil rights movement. Although they struggled during the first year after the creation of the organization, King did not give up. In 1966, the organization led by King organized a campaign against racial segregation in Alabama that succeeded at the end to open public places to black people. During his life, he led many marches and protests and made hundreds of speeches such as “I Have a Dream” for equal rights for black people. He played a pivotal role in ending segregation in the U.S. and is remembered as a human right icon. Like King did in the past, aboriginals in Canada are now doing the same by standing for their rights through the creation of the Idle No More movement. Chief Spence’s hunger strike inspired others to stand up against the legislative abuses of aboriginals. People have gathered in public spaces to show their support and discontent with the government. Although Idle No More was not created for the same exact reason as King’s movement, it is in the spirit of what he did. Like King’s movement, Idle No More movement is going forward, but still struggles to keep a sustained effort. However, segregation did not end in a day and so, there is hope that the recent movement will succeed.  The creation of Idle No More is in itself an indication that people do not want to sit idly, they stand up for what they believe in.  



Martin Luther King’s fight for African American rights in the United States has always fascinated me. Indeed, he has become a role model for many other activists who have brought change to this world after him, and they have used his campaigns as an inspiration for theirs. I really like the fact that you linked Martin Luther’s fight for civil rights to the aboriginal’s here in Canada. Indeed, both movements have the same motives and are based on non-violent campaigns. Additionally, I have recently posted about Nelson Mandela, an interesting individual who was also an important civil right activist. Similarly to Martin Luther King, the South African protester made use of non-violent campaigns to fight for the rights of blacks in his country. Moreover, what is most fascinating about Mandela’s story is that even if he had to suffer life imprisonment, he never abandoned the purpose of his fight and came out of prison becoming the first black president of South Africa. If individuals like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King weren’t part of history or hadn’t devoted their lives to fighting for human rights, who knows what type of world we would be living in today!

Your subject, I find is very interesting since I am also writing about a minority in societies. I am writing about youth in need and the Aboriginal people. I can link your post to my post about Theresa Spence who is now the Chief of Attawapiskat First Nation in Canada and who fought for the Aboriginal people‘s rights and freedom, which are a minority group in society. Her fight also included fighting for a better health care and education for the children living in reserves.  She and Martin were fighting for the minority rights in their own society and each influenced their own conflict in a better way. Here is my post;

When I first read your comment, I was sure that your topic would be able racial equal rights, which I think would be weird since ethnic rights is protected under the Charter of Rights, but instead you made a comparison of Martin Luther King, who is a really influential man of the civil rights movement, with the Idle No More movement, which I think was a brilliant comparison. We often forget that many of the aboriginals’ rights are neglected and that placing them in reserves (that is many kilometers far from cities, thus far from economic advantage) and not giving them the rights and support they need would not help.

The article caught my eye since it now has been 50 years since the "I have a dream" speech has been pronounced by no other then MLKJ. I agree with the fact that watch he did was indeed truly remarkable and that is has changed our views on race and equality all around the world. But there is a good gap between the segregation done back then and the cause the canadian-aboriginals have been fighting for. I believe the speech was in a goal to make our society progress and understand that what color your skin is doesn't change us: that we are all humans. But The aboriginals in Canada have a very non-progressist and retrograde way of thinking. We haven't oppressed their beliefs or treated them unequally. I believe that they made a choice to keep some territories and not advance along with the rest of the world, and that their now looking for some type of financial aid. Their standing up, but mostly for their errors not their rights. Yes they were segregated but it satisfied them since they could live on their own. But it's no longer good enough for them and now their living up to it. I've been to reserves and I can confirm they live this way by choice, not by obligation. So in my opinion, the two situations are simply worlds apart and cannot be compared.