Friday, February 15, 2013

Decolonizing the Violence Against Indigenous Women

Decolonizing the Violence Against Indigenous Women
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Colonization is violence. Colonization has had an impact on both Indigenous women and men’s roles in all relationships but Indigenous women have taken the brunt of the impacts of colonization. Direct attacks against Indigenous women are attempts to erase them from existence so that there will be no future generations. These are attacks against the future of our Indigenous nations. Indigenous women are now dealing with the high statistics of violence against them and the highest numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women, not only in Canada but also globally.

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The violence against women and the violence occurring against Mother Earth are also directly connected. Haudenosaunee planting ceremonies acknowledge that the women are the seed – the connection between the Creator and Mother Earth. The loss of connection of Indigenous women to their lands and territories means that the lifeblood and carrier of future generations are also cut off. Since the existence of the patriarchal Indian Act, there have been missing Indigenous women who were forcefully displaced from their traditional territories for “marrying out”. This was the beginning of missing Indigenous women. The genocidal policies of the Indian Act also had an impact on Indigenous governance systems where the women’s decision-making qualities were silenced and no longer part of the balance of these systems. And we already know what the residential schools did to our families, including the roles of mothers and fathers and the losses of family bonding, and the loss of the most basic tenets of a relationship: love and emotional well-being.

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Beverley Jacobs is a citizen of the Kanienkehake Nation, Bear Clan of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy from the Six Nations Grand River Territory. She graduated with a law degree at the University of Windsor in 1994 and a master’s degree in law in 2000. She is currently a PhD Candidate at the University of Calgary. She also owns her own law firm, which is situated at Six Nations Grand River Territory and practices part-time while working on her Interdisciplinary Degree focusing on human rights, Indigenous research methodologies, and Aboriginal health.

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