Rosanna Deerchild: Talking to my daughters about the dangers of being an indigenous woman
As a parent, you always want to keep your children safe. You teach them to look both ways before crossing the street, you warn them about stranger danger and to always call if they need you no matter what, when or why.
But what if the color of their skin is what puts them in danger? That is the reality for indigenous women and girls in Canada.
According to statistics we are four times more likely to experience violence. We are more likely to be the victim of exploitation and even murder. An RCMP report says 1,181 indigenous women and girls have been killed or are missing in Canada. That number just keeps climbing.
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Take that, Columbus! Celebrate NY Indigenous Peoples Day and Powwow this weekend
Featuring over 500 Native American artists, educators, singers, dancers and performing groups from across the Americas, the Redhawk Native American Arts Council is hosting an Indigenous People’s Day on Monday, October 12th and a Native American Festival and Powwow this weekend at Randall’s Island Park in New York City.
While many New York City residents may be attending the Columbus Day parade on that Monday, event organizer Cliff Matias says both the weekend powwow and the Monday event deserve their rightful Indigenous emphasis.
“The amazing thing about this weekend’s powwow is that it is the first contest powwow held on the island of Manhattan ever,” says Matias.
Nicolle Gonzales is a 35-year-old certified nurse midwife (CNM) with three kids ages 9 to 14. She’s Navajo (or Diné, as Navajo people refer to themselves), from Waterflow, New Mexico, and has embarked on a journey to create the nation’s first Native American birth center. “I’d like to see a nice building with pictures of our grandmothers, cedar welcoming you into the door, and moccasins for babies instead of blankets,” says Gonzales. “I want a place where women and families feel welcome.”
Gonzales is among only 14 other Native American CNMs in the United States. She and Brittany Simplicio, another midwife who is Navajo/Zuni, began raising money for a nonprofit that will run the center, Changing Woman Initiative (CWI), last year.
Oaxaca City, Mexico – Rain spattered against the taxi’s window during the uphill drive to the Colonia Jardín neighborhood on the outskirts of Oaxaca City, the capital of one of the country’s poorest states.
“Storms turn the mud up here into chewing gum,” Mare Advertencia Lirika, a local rapper, told Al Jazeera.
Mare, 28, an indigenous Zapotec, has made a name for herself on the Latin American hip-hop scene. Her rap stands out in part because of her indigenous roots, the poverty she’s endured, as well as her politicized upbringing.
Most of the homes in the neighborhood are single-storied and cobbled together with cement breeze blocks. Despite its close proximity to the city, Colonia Jardín has a rural feel: turkeys, strays dogs, and cornfields dot the geography.
The many sins of Pope Francis’s saints
It evokes little controversy to say that history was made on Pope Francis’s first visit to the United States. In addition to becoming the first Pope to address Congress, Pope Francis also took the occasion to mark the first canonization of a saint on U.S. soil, lately St. Junipero Serra, a fellow Franciscan of the Pope’s very order. A man after the Pope’s own heart.
I’m relatively certain that the Vatican perceived such an overture to be a good opportunity. During his speech, the Pope addressed such sundry themes as climate change and illegal immigration, urging members of Congress not to turn their back on their ‘neighbors’ even as they stream across the U.S./Mexico border unabated. Having endorsed the cause of Hispanic immigration into the U.S., the Pope preceded this by canonizing the first Hispanic saint just this past Wednesday.
Photo: Mare Advertencia Lirika Facebook.