A University of Saskatchewan professor says those who do not take the Idle No More movement seriously may want to think again.

Ken Coates, who is a Canada Research Chair at the university, says the anti-Vietnam War movement was also not initially taken seriously but its proponents eventually moved into positions of influence within politics and had a direct effect on the U.S.’s final decision to exit the war.

In a similar way, he says the young people who are part of Idle No More have been profoundly affected by the movement and there is no doubt they will have an influence on how society is governed in the years to come.

“And the young people who are mobilized and motivated by events like Idle No More are changed profoundly by the process,” he says. “They expect more from themselves, they expect more from society, they expect justice and equality, and they expect there will be a resolution in their lifetime to the things they found so aggravating at the time of Idle No More.”

Coates adds the movement’s insistence on peaceful measures while asking foundational questions of human rights has served to unify a broad spectrum of people and made it difficult for others to attack.

In particular, he says the Indigenous round dances, singing and drumming have been a major factor in making Idle No More the special movement it is.

Coates was speaking at the U of S yesterday as part of a panel discussion series on Idle No More which runs over the next few weeks at the university.