Tag Archives: Suquamish Tribe

Suquamish tribal members join Canada’s Idle No More movement

SUQUAMISH — A few Suquamish tribal members hope their participation in an upcoming rally sheds light on the recent clash between First Nations and its Canadian government.

The grassroots movement called Idle No More, which started in October, is over Canada’s recent passage of Bill C-45, a 400-page piece of legislation that contains 64 regulations. It’s also known as the Jobs and Growth Act, 2012.

First Nation members say the bill not only violates longstanding water and environmental treaties between Canada and its indigenous tribes, but also criticized the Canadian government for excluding tribal voice in the process.

The movement has attracted international media attention, especially in the case of Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence, who has been on a hunger strike since early December until a meeting between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and First Nations leaders occurs.

The collective Idle No More efforts and sentiments resonate loudly for some Suquamish tribal members. Some relate the Idle No More movement to the Civil Rights movement that aimed to eradicate racial discrimination, among other injustices.

If longstanding treaties are broken in Canada, other governments might copy it, Gyasi Ross, a Suquamish and Blackfoot tribal member, said of the Idle No More movement.

“Decisions Canada (is) making now, I have a feeling would affect US tribes,” Ross said.

Rallies, flash mobs and demonstrations have been popping up across the US in recent weeks in support of the movement.

Ross plans to participate in a rally Saturday near Pike Place Market in Seattle that supports the cause. This is the second rally he’s participated in recent weeks; the first one packed Westlake Mall, and an online video produced by Ross and a few of his friends has since received more than 35,000 views.

“We better get involved in the discussion because it affects both sides. We see land as a complete whole. When we see something that affects upstream, it also affects downstream,” he said.

Suquamish tribal elder Marilyn Wandrey will give the opening remarks at the rally on Saturday.

The 72-year-old said she knows many tribal members affected by Canada’s recent bill change through annual canoe journeys along the Canadian border.

“These are our friends and relatives that are part of us,” Wandrey said. “I know what hard work it’s going to take to bring everyone to the table and pray that all goes well with them. It’s going to have an impact on lots of First Nation families and generations to come.”

James Old Coyote, a Sto:lo and Hidatsa tribal member who lives in Squamish, hopes his attendance at Saturday’s rally will shed light on the movement.

Like Ross, he’s concerned about what sort of precedent Canada’s recent law passage could mean for tribes elsewhere.

“It’s not just a native issue. You see a bunch of Indians get all radical and fight the government… but it’s a much bigger picture. It’s our earth and we live in it. If the government up there has the ability to eliminate those treaties that were signed… is that going to be a trend happening down the states?” he said.


Check out a video Ross and his friends created during the flash mob in downtown Seattle.

Casting Call for Kitsap Native Americans

Jason Beattie, a 1996 Bainbridge High School graduate and music video director, is planning another project in his old stomping grounds. Beattie, now with Ghost Town Media of Los Angeles, in July shot a video at Bremerton’s Skateland featuring U.K. singer Cheri Moon.

On Friday, he was back in Kitsap, speaking at Bainbridge High School and planning for an upcoming video production of a song by Steve Aoki, a nationally known DJ and founder of Dim Mak Records. The song, called “Wake Up,” features electronic music and essentially no lyrics, unless you count when Aoki screams, “Wake Up.”

See an example of Aoki’s music below.

In choosing Kitsap County as the location for the video, Beattie wanted to break out of the monotony of L.A. videos by showing viewers a new area of a the country and a culture they may not be familiar with. He thought a spot featuring Native Americans would fit with the message of the song.

“Obviously, growing up here, (local tribes are) a big part of all our community here in the Pacific Northwest,” Beattie said. “The concept is really kind of shining a light on the Native American community. I think a lot of people don’t see this community, and it’s kind of a wake-up call for some people.”

Beattie is drawn to Kitsap County for obvious reasons, but will Kitsap become the next big location for music videos? Why not? We already have our partially rotten foot in the door with “Zombies of Mass Destruction,” filmed in Port Gamble.

Beattie said of Kitsap, “I’d love for it to be my hidden gem here, because I think it is. For this video, I’d like to shine a light on the community.”

Beattie has contacted members of the Suquamish Tribe to broadcast the need for Native American families, children and dancers. Members of other tribes also are welcome to tryouts at a yet-to-be-disclosed Poulsbo location Monday through Jan. 17. Contact aokicasting@gmail.com.