Saskatchewan·First Person

Walking in my shoes: Métis artist asks women to reimagine the matriarch

This year I hope you consider joining me in taking a stand for the liberation of all women. I hope you take action, you march against the inequities in your own backyards.

This year I hope you consider joining me in taking a stand for the liberation of all women

An in-progress art piece by Saskatoon/Treaty 6 born Métis artist/musician Kat Ross. (Kat Ross)

This first person piece was written by Kat Ross, a Saskatoon/Treaty 6 born Métis artist/musician who is currently studying medicine on the unceded territories of the Lekwungen speaking peoples.

For more information about CBC's Opinion section, please see the FAQ.


My shoe is a size 6. A wax-coated, high-top canvas hiker. Practical, always dirty and damp. The right zipper hardly closes anymore, just like all the shoes before it. Thrift store gems, busted right zipper.

You see, my right psoas, the muscle that runs from my spine down to control my hip, is really tight. A lifetime of trauma — fed by daily microaggressions — wears on a body and on a shoe. 

Kat Ross's worn size 6 high-top hikers. (Kat Ross)

As white feminism laces its shoes this year I implore you to consider the words of Maya Angelou.

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."

Know that for every step you take, I've had to run marathons just to be close to where you are. I've run scared and screaming for help but, my tears are red, not white, and so no knights were moved to come to my rescue. 

I could see this from an early age. See that movies sold and celebrated a kidnapping pedophile as the kind of "romance" us Indians deserve. For a time, this carried a sting. It wasn't until I began training, I grew stronger, faster, brighter and in each movement I grew away from the patriarchy. A place that would never be safe for me. I wonder who is safe there? 

My grandmothers called me back to a path, overlooked and unseen, older than this nation. The path worn as their moccasins. Here they walk hand in hand with those who are without a home, with sex workers, single mothers. They walk with domestic abuse survivors, two spirit, trans, fem folks.  Mixed race, non status, immigrants, the differently-abled all move together on this path.

To honour my ancestors I do not walk in support of whitewashing women's rights. Indigenous women weren't granted the right to vote until 1960. Some of the suffragettes who fought and won their rights also supported the forced sterilization of Indigenous girls

This year I hope you consider joining me in taking a stand for the liberation of all women. I hope you take action, you march against the inequities in your own backyards. I pray you work so tirelessly, so hard, the zipper on your shoes burst too! 

The ancestors knew this truth, If any of us are hurt, it hurts us all. There is no way forward collectively if we are all moving in fear of our own shadows.


This column is part of CBC's Opinion section. For more information about this section, please read this editor's blog and our FAQ.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kat Ross is a Saskatoon/Treaty 6 born Métis artist/musician who is currently studying medicine on the unceded territories of the Lekwungen speaking peoples. She is a descendant of Donald Ross, who fought in and was killed in the last resistance.

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