The Hearts of our Women, will never mend & still we are Strong
For all those who have spoken up to the #MMIW, its a collective voice both political and grassroots leadership & the movements from within initiated by our own women, on their own. I include my own story here, initiated during the call out for a nation wide vigil for our Sisters in Spirit. The feeling that springs forth strength in better ways, and Respect for the dignity of all, especially our strongest and most important, our Lifegivers, Mothers, Women, Aunties, Sisters. I too have lost family to #MMIW & these stories have made me very afraid. I too have had an experience which knocked me down & this is something I have had to work very carefully through. You never do get over these things.
For too long our families have existed in the shadows. The stories have left us chilled. Today as I drove around our city, i thought to myself of the women who have been taken from us, in places I drive by each day. Our recognition in the history of this country is what this country needs, in my heart, to heal from the collective trauma, to a collective recognition of the truth. Today I thought about gathering red dresses and hanging them at all the sites I know of where our women have become Stolen. There are definitely three sites I can think of. That itself is terrifying. At times I have thought to myself, am I on Ground zero. Plus where is the collective rage. When I held a vigil for Loretta, three people asked “is she your sister?” I was taken back. And at the same time, I feel, of course she is my sister and she is your sister too. She is all of our sisters. As are all of the Sisters. We are all related.
When I asked my Chief, Duncan Michano to stand and put together a vigil, well say some words, by Lake Superior, including Dr. Paul Berger of Lakehead University, Sharon Johnson who has fearlessly leads up the Full Moon Memory Walk in honour of her sister, and a student in Law at Lakehead’s Indigenous Law Society, I couldn’t help but to feel afraid myself to put this on but their help mattered a lot. Did I need help? What kind of help did I need. I had contemplated a small vigil. Something just with my family on the top of Hillcrest. But a feeling came over me that I needed to do something near the water, and offer it for everyone. Scott Mainprize immediately contacted me after I placed the event on Facebook. I was so relieved to have help. And that is where it happened. In the midst of this, the Ontario Native Women’s Association helped with refreshments and covered the sound system, & the City of Thunder Bay leant a venue site. But at the bottom of my heart, I knew we needed to do more.
I’ve joined in Walks, and with our children. They’ve heard me talk about #MMIW. I realize that children are welcomed everywhere, but after one of my child was nearly hit by a car pulling in who decided to park much to close to my car door, and then my five year old, well decided to yell obscenities, I knew, well this was not the place for children. I apologized quickly. I’ve had my fair share of encounters with crappy drivers and their inconsideration in the past few years. I decided then, if there are cars, or walks, we have to participate in ways that are safe for us. I’ve decided my energies need to go towards learning and the Land. I know what this means, and I’m considering ways to make this happen. I feel this is my contribution.
But just for today I will start my addition to the Walking With Our Sisters Collection and I’ll get my children to bead too.
I’m considering what will be on my vamps. I have no clue how to bead. Today I will learn. I will work in the old ways in understanding the value of art, and in knowing that it is art, that always saves. The creative process, as I know, has proved itself to give me strength. No one can ever tell you art is wrong. It is about your voice.
I too, always include the #WWOS in my work. I too remember the Grandmothers from the Lifelong Care program brought to the Thunder Bay WWOS event, and how they told us, in their language, “We don’t know what to do, but we know we MUST do something.” Their words are a truth. These are the Elders who spoke. We have to listen.
This today: December 8, 2015 #MMIW