Indigenous women take the lead
For International Women's Day, CBC Aboriginal shines the light on indigenous women who are making a difference
In celebration of International Women's Day, CBC Aboriginal shines the light on indigenous women who are taking the lead and making a difference in their communities, and across Canada.
Erica Violet Lee
Erica Violet Lee is Nēhiyaw Iskwe from Saskatoon. Lee is an undergraduate student at the University of Saskatchewan, an outspoken activist, and writes her own blog, called Moontime Warrior.
Lee gained national attention by taking a selfie with Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall while sticking her tongue out, when she was part of the Canadian Youth Delegation to the COP 21 meeting in Paris this past December.
"I want to encourage Indigenous women to not be afraid to be loud, not to be afraid to be in the spotlight.
Don't be afraid of your own knowledge and your own power," says Lee.
Aside from being an internationally renowned artist, Belcourt is the force behind Walking With Our Sisters, a commemorative installation that features nearly 2,000 pairs of handmade moccasin tops, or "vamps", to honour missing and murdered indigenous women.
She is also very passionate about raising awareness about climate change, and helps to build indigenous language revitalization programs in various First Nations communities across Canada.
- Métis artist Christi Belcourt's work featured in Valentino fashions
- Walking With Our Sisters memorial for murdered and missing indigenous women
"The thing I love the most about what I do is working with people, working with the community and seeing changes in young people when they get connected to the land," says Belcourt.
Landry is a political science and indigenous studies professor at the University of Saskatchewan. She is also a therapist in Thunderchild First Nation, specializing in grief, and recovery.
"I want [our people] to recognize that they can become anything that they truly want to become, regardless of what has happened to them in their lives," Landry says.
Angela Hovak Johnston
That's where she learned the art of sewing and today she teaches students at a high school in Yellowknife, N.W.T., how to sew traditional garments.
Hovak is currently working on a traditional tattoo revitalization project that will be documented and published.
"This project is to honour our ancestors who were incredibly strong women. Hopefully this will give strength and courage to more women with pride to carry our traditions for many more generations to come."
"I have noticed missing indigenous girls are not afforded the same courtesies — by the community, the media or the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS)."
"If I go missing and the WPS has not changed the behaviours I have brought to your attention, I beg of you, do not treat me as the indigenous person I am proud to be."
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with files from CBC News