Every year on June 21, we celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day. It’s a day to recognize, and celebrate the cultures and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Indigenous peoples in Canada. Though it’s an important part of our heritage, most Canadians don’t seem to know enough about the Indigenous peoples living on this land, their communities, history and reality today. Somehow, it’s not a popular and common interest.
I was always fascinated by Aboriginal culture ever since I was 16 years old when we were introduced to colonial history in 9th grade. I never took the time to explore beyond the beautiful art, mythology and mystical medicine of Native Americans. It was only recently that I learned about what my history teachers never taught us in school: hate, discrimination, violence and injustice. The concealed ugly past motivated me to read more Indigenous writings, to acknowledge their past and to better understand them. Kwe: Standing With Our Sisters edited by Joseph Boyden is one of the many books that I added to my reading list this year.
Synopsis: Driven by deep frustration, anger, and sorrow in the wake of yet another violent assault upon a First Nations woman in November 2014, dozens of acclaimed writers and artists have come together to add their voices to a call for action addressing the deep-rooted and horrific crimes that continue to fester in our country.
Kwe means woman in Ojibwe. More specifically, kwe means life-giver or life-carrier in Anishinaabemowin, the Ojibwe language. It is a pure word, one that speaks powerfully of women’s place at the heart of all our First Nations.
These women who bring light and life to our world are in peril. Aboriginal women in our country are three times more likely to face violent attack and murder than any other of their gender. We must take concrete steps to stop this and we must do it now.
A nation is only as good, is only as strong, as how it treats its most vulnerable and those of us in danger. This book is a call to action. It’s sometimes a whisper, sometimes a scream, but we speak our words as one when we demand justice for our more than 1200 murdered and missing Indigenous women. After all, they are our mothers, our daughters, our nieces, our aunties, our sisters, our friends. (Source: Goodreads)
While I initially wanted to review this eBook, I felt it was more important for me to state how important the work is in raising awareness and encouraging everyone to put more pressure on our federal government to act and resolve this crisis. Over 50 Canadian writers and artists contributed to this collection of stories, poems and artwork, from Gord Downie to Margaret Atwood. They all spoke out against the violence committed against Indigenous women all across Canada. At only $2.99 with all proceeds donated to Amnesty International’s No More Stolen Sisters campaign, I don’t think there’s a reason not to purchase the book and read it at least once. I wish printed copies were available so that I could carry one in my bag at all times, but my eReader will do.
“Kwe: Standing With Our Sisters” edited by Joseph Boyden
Publication date: December 16, 2014
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
To learn more, I invite you to visit Amnesty International as well as the coverage on CBC: