Also: mikisiwipîsim is here and the calendar’s packed
IndigNation by Bev Cardinal
Mikisiwipîsim (March) is upon us! What better way to kick off the annual journey into spring than with a snowstorm, International Women’s Day celebrations and best of all, a tentative agreement between the Wet’suwet’en chiefs (both hereditary and elected) and the feds!
The Power Of Women
Looking back at the Wet’suwet’en blockade and protest that sparked outrage and economic turmoil across the country, it’s important to understand that it was the tribal men who got themselves into such a pickle. Over a year ago, Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary and elected male chiefs denounced the female hereditary chiefs and covertly removed them from the decision-making process. Add to that a complete lack of open and transparent consultation with their own people and community and BOOM — a big fat pickle of conflict! In my experience, that’s typically what happens when misguided men think they’re providing leadership. So sad. So unnecessary.
Here’s the thing: before colonization, Indigenous women always held leadership roles in our First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities. Colonization brought many evils, and patriarchy, misogyny and racism were among them. The result: violence toward Indigenous women and girls continues to be a tool of the colonial state, while many Indigenous peoples have also, for generations, internalized these patriarchal beliefs that manifest in the way they view and treat women.
Generation by generation, we are learning and reclaiming our traditional roles as women. We are recovering our systems and processes; we are learning how to be ourselves. And it will always be the hereditary females, the clan mothers, the matriarchs, Elders, Old Ones and grandmothers who will come to the rescue, work steadfastly to prevent and, when necessary, resolve these conflicts and proceed in the best interests of Mother Earth and the people.
Spring Free From Racism
If only it were that easy! But I digress… continuing in the spirit of cultural reclamation and celebration, this annual event on Sunday, March 22 from 11:00 a.m.–6:30 p.m. at the Italian Club promises to be a good time. Barb Dedi and her amazing committee have been organizing and hosting this event for the past 21 years! It’s a great showcase of multicultural arts, crafts, music, dance and best of all, food.
And for those of you interested in dipping your toe into the “reconciliation” pool, here’s a couple of community-based options to consider:
The Heritage Community Association has put together a discussion series on reconciliation. There’s one March 25 from 7:00–8:30 at the Eastview Community Centre on the topic of sports. Check out heritagecommunityassociation.ca for more.
Albert Library has a Truth & Reconciliation Book Club that meets monthly. It’s drop-in and free! Call the branch for more details: (306) 777-6076.
Celebrate the early spring equinox on Thursday, March 19! It’s all uphill from here!