happy international women’s day! i am so proud to be a woman, raised by strong women, and i am even more proud to be an indigenous woman.
i found out i was Métis only at the end of my university education. because of this, i was unable to apply for the First Nation, Métis and Inuit specific scholarships and bursaries, join the appropriate clubs and groups, and really understand what the indigenous community was all about. there are many times that i wish i knew i was Métis as a child, so i could grow up surrounded in my own culture, learning recipes and drumming, and knowing how to bead my own moccasins. in essence, i have been responsible for making up for lost time in the last five years. trying to find an identity, which is a huge struggle for Métis people, being of mixed-blood.
i have been working extremely hard to find myself in all of this, working for the Métis nation of ontario as a summer youth cultural interpreter, sharing Métis traditions, games and songs with children in summer camps and seniors in retirement homes. that was certainly a great start. only a mere few years later, i was then accepted out of countless applicants, to the [full ride] indigenous women in community leadership program at st. francis xavier university. now let me tell you – the women i met there are the definition of strong, empowered women who must be celebrated on a day like today.
they made me stronger and more inclined to speak out and speak my truth.
when i was eleven years old, i was molested by someone very close to my family.
and i can thank the power of hand drumming, circles, and a large concentration of brave and sincere indigenous women who gave me the power to say that. to also make me own my past and not let it define my future.
after all, statistics say 3 out of 4 aboriginal women are sexually abused before the age of eighteen.
we as women cannot keep it this silenced any longer. we cannot give the predators and abusers the power. he had the power for thirteen years before i got the courage to tell my mom and he has no more power over me.
i am choosing, this INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY, to proudly say that
I AM A SURVIVOR, not a victim.
i feel it is my duty on international women’s day to share my truth in hopes of inspiring my beautiful, courageous sisters to do the same. it is my duty to protect our women, children and future generations. i hope i can inspire you to move forward in your healing. i want us to both find peace in moving forward.
i will always be here for you as a hand to hold with open ears and and an open heart.
you are not alone.