"I was raised in Chile during a time when admitting you were part Native was like admitting you were somehow a lesser being," Harper said. "[But] so many of us are mestizo. As Latinos its become a cultural and political move to accept our cultural background with pride... People are slowly researching their bloodlines and coming in step with their Native heritage and the pride that comes from that acknowledgement."
Census data in the U.S. supports this idea. The number of Latinos who also identify as Native American skyrocketed between 2000 and 2010, from 407,073 and 685,150, according to Census counts. In fact, 70 percent of the 57,000 American Indians living in New York City in 2010 were also of Hispanic origin, a 70 percent jump from just one decade ago.
Part of this leap could be the result of mixed-ethnicity children. Harper says her husband is Native American, of Plains Cree origin, and therefore her two children have indigenous roots in Chile and Canada. This has only strengthened her devotion to the Idle No More cause. "My children have supposed land rights in Alberta which they could lose. It hit me hard and I decided I needed to do something, " said Harper, who moved to Canada in 1986 as a teenager. So she and Flores, who lives in Edmonton, started the Facebook group, from which they helped organize gatherings, produced online videos of Latinos sharing the reasons they are supporting the movement, and helped translate Idle No More announcements to spread the cause in Spanish-speaking communities.
While Canada has relatively few Latinos (about one percent of the total population, by latest estimates), many individuals with roots in Latin America are taking up the fight in the U.S. The Mexica movement, who reject the classification of Latino and prefer to identify themselves as the Nahuatl-speaking indigenous peoples from across the continent, have held protest gatherings in front of the Canadian consulate on Saturdays and Sundays for the last few weeks, on behalf of Idle No More Movements, director of the Mexica Movement, Olin Tezcatlipoca told ABC/Univision. On Saturday, the group has scheduled take the rally "to the heart of our community" at Atlantic Boulevard and Cesar Chavez Avenue in East L.A., Tezcatlipoca said.
McAdam said she is honored by the outpouring of support from Latinos and other indigenous groups from Latin America.
"From the information that we're getting, they're joining from other indigenous nations across the continent, like the Maya, Inca and Aztec Nations," McAdam said. "We're seeing all kinds of people standing up who can relate to colonization, genocide and the destroyal of water and lands. It's not just us who have experienced this."
McAdam says that although the message has been able to grow to Latinos and other communities because of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, she and her co-founders had never used the technologies before the grassroots movement began over a month ago.
"We don't have any experience with organizing movements like this, but we knew we couldn't stay silent. We'd never done this before, we'd never researched this." McAdam said. "But we understood that silence is deadly for all people, and that acquiescence means that your compliance is consent."