"We are connected through our grief and our collective resistance to this terror which targets our relations. We are linked through our sense of urgency to stop this violence from continuing and to change the society in which this terror is normalized."
Sarah Hunt has been writing about these issues for years, which makes this particular piece even more hardhitting. Hunt points out exactly how the government often blames Native women themselves for their deaths and disappearances, how dangerous our legal and social attitudes towards sex workers are, and challenges both herself and her readers to think long and hard about what justice for missing and murdered women would look like.
In conversations with friends, I’ve been struggling to explain why and how the disappearance and death of Loretta Saunders feels bigger than just the loss of one bright, young woman who I never met. Struggling to explain to friends who don’t know any Native people, friends who didn’t really understand what Idle No More was/is about, friends who never heard the word “colonialism” in their day to day lives. Trying to explain while I’m still trying to understand myself.
Hunt brings her wealth of knowledge, resources and experience together in this heartwrenching piece. She takes us to task, wondering if asking for a government inquiry is really a step forward:
Appealing to the same government that removes our children from our homes, takes our land for resource extraction, and denies our own legal jurisdiction over our homelands and households does not make sense to me. Is Harper really the source of solutions to violence against our aunties?
The missing, the murdered, Loretta Saunders… these are the stories keeping me awake at night. But I find a small amount of solace in Sarah Hunt’s words, and in the actions of hardworking community organizers, writers, resisters like her. People like her cousins who gathered in Ottawa a week after the news of her death was announced. Her cousins who reminded us the words she lived by, “Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.” Cheers to the very few politicians, like Charlie Angus, Romeo Saganash, and Nikki Ashton, who are trying their best to represent the voices of the missing, the stories of the families who mourn and miss them, all in the hopes of challenging the dysfunctional political systems they work within.
I’m trying to find hope.
“Really can’t stand the phrase “at risk youth”. At risk of what? Colonialism? Imperialism? Violence from the state that puts them at “risk”?”
– Jessica Danforth, Native Youth Sexual Health Network (via marginalutilite)
Frame No.8, Deep of Winter
“I am a Mohawk woman… You cannot ask me to speak as a woman because I cannot speak as just a woman. That is not the voice that I have been given. Gender does not transcend race. The voice that I have been given is the voice of a Mohawk woman and if you must talk to me about women, somewhere along the line you must talk about race.”
– Patricia A. Monture-Okanee, “The Violence We Women Do: A First Nations View” (via taleth)
Oh my god.
I refuse to speculate about Loretta’s death. What I do know is that our society has discarded indigenous women and girls in much the same manner for generations. These people were playing out a script that we all know intimately, but never acknowledge. I told a good friend of mine yesterday that there’s no conspiracy, there’s no mystery, Loretta will show up in a ditch like so many indigenous women before her. He was taken aback. I told him that’s the pattern.
It’s our doing, which Loretta articulated so clearly in her writing — theft of land base, legalized segregation and racism, residential schools for several generations, continued dispossession = social chaos.
It is a recipe for disaster for indigenous peoples, and especially indigenous women. Who suffers most when access to land, to the ecological order at the basis of most indigenous societies, is limited, controlled, or outright eliminated? Is that not what’s at the basis of a settler society like our own, eliminating indigenous peoples’ relationship to the land (and/or their actual bodies), so that can we plunder it for our gain?
All the while, through trickery and deceit, we convince our children that indigenous peoples are to blame for their condition, that through no fault of our own, they simply don’t understand how to live well in society.”
In Honour of Loretta by Darryl Leroux (February 27th, 2014)
By Susan Jamison
Drowning Dress, silk, embroidery, lead weights, 2013
In tribute to Virginia Woolf (who wore an overcoat with its pockets full of stones and drowned herself)
sometimes I come across an image here and think “that image and I go way back. that image used to by my livejournal icon.”
You and me both, bb. Sometimes I see familiar ages and wonder, “Where have I seen that before? Oh yeah, that was so and so’s lj icon for years.”