Syilx Images | A Message for our Daughters

A Message for our Daughters

March 06, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

It's been a hard time grieving over the losses of our Youth recently. Tina Fontaine, Colten Boushie, and the many more who never received justice. I remember hearing justice is for the colonizers, it's "Just us". This rang so true with me, I can't help but feel like we are unsafe in our territories, we are unsafe in the justice system, our children are unsafe in the child welfare system. There is no safety for Indigenous peoples in Canada. 

We are being pushed into a corner, and it's at times like this that Artists, Matrilineal leaders, and warriors have no choice but to stand up with messages of resiliency, resurgency, truth, and spirit.

It cannot continue.

I will forever work hard to raise my children as warriors, they are being nurtured in the ways of their traditional roles. So many of us have forgotten these roles and in order for our families to have a fighting chance at life and protecting what belongs to us we need to ensure that we nurture these roles in our children.

Teach your daughters to use their voice, to make smart decisions on behalf of community, not self. Teach her what it is to be a good mother, not mainstream societies version of a good mother but what a mothers role was in our communities.

In this photo below my daughter is walking around feeding the crowd. We brought some food to the march for those that are grieving, this is part of a womans traditional role in her community to take care of those that are grieving. These are the small gestures that become seedlings for teachings as our children grow.

Teach your sons to love and respect all women, Elders, and community. Teach your sons to stand up spiritually and physically in the face of danger when it comes to protecting his family, Elders, community, and lands. He is our lands insurance, that is all we have left.

This photo below is my son, Skookamina, singing songs on Christmas Eve with Micheal Gabriel of Kwantlen First Nations. Micheal and Skookamina love to drum and share teachings. This is brotherhood in all it's definition. They sing, pray, celebrate and protect together, these are the bonds that need to be formed between our men to strengthen the protection of all that belongs to us.

It's a huge responsibility that us as parents carry, we are responsible for bringing the generations up in a way that they are true to the given spirit they are gifted at birth.

Some of us are warriors, some of us are storytellers, some of us are artists, some of us are caretakers of people, some of us are song keepers, some of us are all of the above. It is the responsibility of us parents to recognize that gift at a young age and do what we can to bring our child up in that direction. I loved seeing so many children at the Colten Boushie gathering.

The children sang, spoke out, prayed and walked the whole way with all of us. It was so eye opening to see all the little ones being brought up in truth of our stance with Canada, our colonizers.

It is important that we don't hide that truth.

We can't allow our children to go into colonial institutions like the school system and not be brave enough to stand up and speak truth. I have decided to homeschool my children for many reasons but one being the poorly delivered "Truth and Reconciliation" in schools. My daughter has had to stand up and correct people, has had to explain herself to others. She said when the class would laugh about our history she would take it so personal because she said they were really laughing at her family. She left her class and told the counselor and he in turn went to talk to the students about being culturally sensitive.

My son Skookamina has come home crying several days in his grade 4 year because of the traumatic stories his white teacher shared about our history. He said he was embarrassed, sad, and upset, he just wanted to leave. So he ran home that day and came storming in the house crying. This is not the way I choose to educate my children. We speak so sensitively, so carefully about our histories, I make sure we have a lot of time to unpack thoughts and emotions, we seek out support from our Elders if we need to. I pray for them and we leave all of our conversations open ended.

The "Get over it" culture continues to live in our schools by non-Indigenous people delivering such sensitive shared history and I can't always chance exploiting my children to being the "Educator". 

Here is the quick video I created to make sure that none of the great words shared that day at the Colten Boushie Gathering were forgotten. 

Canada relies on us Indigenous peoples to rush through the rising emotions from injustices. You seen it in the way that the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's quickly met with Colten Boushies family and said, "Hey, remember all that shit I've been talking? Lets actually enact pieces of our Constitution, that will quiet the riled up Indians". Truth is we already have well developed systems that work within our own Nations, we don't need meaningless "dialogue" that Canada will use to reinforce it's position as colonizer. Canada will NOT eradicate their own power, period.

Following all the shit talking from the parliament came the verdict in the Raymond Cormier trial (even though we all watched as media called it the "Tina Fontaine Trial", Tina was NOT on trial! She was the victim...)

"Jury finds Raymond Cormier not guilty in death of Tina Fontaine"

....that was a kick right to the deepest part of our spirits. I decided I wanted to do a piece honouring Tina Fontaine, all of our daughters, and her Mother. The video I compiled was a mixture of photos, video, and spoken word poetry by Helen Knott. 

We had some beautiful and powerful matriarchs show up to support the message to our daughters. The mothers and I all shared thoughts, laughs, and tears in the creation of this piece. 

 "Message to our Daughters". 

We honoured the sacred bond between Mothers and our Indigenous daughters. I spoke above about what it means to nurture our children in the right way growing up. We cannot help if teachings have been taken during the Great Forgetting of all of the past traumas that were invoked upon our peoples. We can however instill hope and strength into our daughters. 

My goal was to let all Indigenous women and youth have a message of hope, value and integrity. 

This video was a pleasure to create with so many amazing mothers and Indigenous daughters. 


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