In 2007 I had the opportunity to visit Nepal for a couple of weeks, half of which I spent in Kathmandu. I happened to be in the city during a nationwide demonstration by the indigenous peoples of Nepal. There are more than 50 distinct peoples who call Nepal home, and although they’ve been overrun by settlers for many centuries, at least 50 of those nations still have their languages and cultures despite being forced to speak Nepalese. The motivation for their demonstration was, in part, because the Nepali Supreme Court ruled that the indigenous languages of Nepal would not be recognized and allowed to be spoken in the courts.
Here’s what I saw that day: a united, nationwide protest that shut down all airports, banks and businesses. There were no cars, buses or trucks on the road that day, no one made any money because no one went to work. It was the most well planned and executed protest I have ever witnessed, wherein all the different indigenous nations of Nepal were in solidarity and because of that solidarity they were able to control the country without firing a weapon or injuring anyone. They simply shut it all down, and Kathmandu, one of the noisiest cities I’ve ever visited, was silent.
What’s happening now in Canada has the same power, clarity and unity that I saw in Nepal. And it’s spilling into the United States.
I hope the fire they’re starting makes its way across the sea and wakes up Na Kanaka Oiwi, and calls us to stand in solidarity with them. They need it… we need it.
This is a link to just one of the many blog postings out there. It’s by author and educator Leanne Simpson, and her blog is called “Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society.