top of page
Search

In Solidarity


This past Sunday, May 5th, marked as the National Day of Awareness for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls, also known as Red Dress Day. The intention of the day is to honour the thousands of missing and murdered women, girls, 2 spirit, and gender diverse people in Canada by encouraging and building awareness to end violence against these groups. The day has significant meaning to me, as some of the Mentors I am in close with have been personally affected by the crisis, and it is important to me that they see me showing support - after all, ally is an action word. When I woke up, I took my only red dress out of my closet and hung it in a prominent place in my front yard. Then, I opened my laptop to search for events being held in the territory on which I live: that of the Snuneymuxw People. I was easily able to find a march being hosted by the Snuneymuxw Nation, and so, with a plan made, I donned my red shirt, attached my Culturally Committed lapel pin to my toque, and made my way to the gathering place in downtown Nanaimo.


The event was scheduled to start at 11, and when I pulled up to park at 10:58, I noticed that the sidewalk was filled with only a handful of people in red. Determined to contribute to the number of participants, I walked up to stand and wait for the beginning of the event.


Despite the fact that I live on Snuneymuxw territory, I do not have a lot of connections within the Nation; the bulk of my time is spent in Stz'uminus and Penelakut. As I stood on the sidewalk, I felt a sense of unease. It can be uncomfortable to attend an event where you don't know anyone. I started thinking about my friend, George Harris Jr. of Stz'uminus, and a conversation we had shared within our Culturally Committed Community.


During a previous Community Call, the question came forward about ways for non-Indigenous people to support to First Nations when there are hardships happening within the community. This questions was sparked during the time that a State of Emergency was declared in the Nation of Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw following the tragic loss of eleven community members. As folks pursuing allyship, there is a desire to show support that is often tempered by a desire to be respectful and not overstep boundaries. During that conversation, George shared about teachings he'd received from his Uncle Tom about the importance of showing up. He shared:


"When things are happening in community, there is nothing more important than being present. Simply standing there, quietly observing, is a powerful demonstration of solidarity. You don't need to do anything except show up."


So on Sunday, as I stood on the sidewalk, I remembered George's words and was reinforced with a sense of purpose. I stood present, I listened to the words and prayers, and I offered my physical demonstration of solidarity.


It was a definitely a comfort, though, when a friend spotted me in the crowd and walked with me during the march. We are stronger together.

3 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page