08 12 / 2013
In this so-called year of reconciliation, how is that Indigenous men, women and youth are 10 times more likely than other Canadians to be incarcerated in their lifetimes? In the year of reconciliation, how is that our children apprehended by the state into foster care make up 78% of all deaths in one province? In a year of reconciliation, how is it that women must still place their own bodies between gas companies’ thumper trucks and the land to prevent further destruction of the earth, our mother? In a year of reconciliation, how is it that Canada continues to ignore calls for a national inquiry into the murdered and missing Native women, our sisters, mothers, daughters and friends? These questions anger me. Indeed, they often paralyze me but they also inspire me to keep questioning, seeking answers and challenging people to never forget how violence operates in the daily lives of Indigenous peoples…I think [of] the children, men, women and girls that Indigenous peoples have lost to colonialism and gendered violence in schools, in the prisons, and in their own homes. I think that colonialism is gendered violence. Yet given the overwhelming sadness I feel about the pervasiveness of violence in our society, I refuse to believe that violence in all these forms is a given.
Gendered violence is not a given. In fact, colonialism is not a given. We have the tools: our minds and our hearts, our ability to love, and our commitment as people here today who can remember and envision something better. A better relationship built in the wake of violence but not beholden to it. Understanding how we came to be here in this place as settler, ally, immigrant or Indigenous, we can begin to travel down a path together towards truer forms of reconciliation. We can move towards that future together that will see an end to violence in all its forms, against women, against the land, against our own selves. Before we can do that however, we have to look back and remember, take account of our past as we walk together towards that decolonized future."
05 12 / 2013
05 12 / 2013