On January 21st, 2017 I went to Toronto’s Queen’s Park to march with over 60, 000 people for women’s rights, which are after all human rights. After a day of feeling like I was in mourning, this march reminded me that there is strength from the collective unification of walking together against injustice.
I was inspired to see young children scowl in the eyes of oppression. I witnessed older people give out paper with hearts printed on them to younger people. Seeing these acts of kindness provided me with a sense of hope for our future.
Marching is one way to act against political subjugation. It’s one way to unify and stand tall. There are many other ways that we can counteract oppressive forces. These acts can be big and small. An act of resistance that we’ve seen in the past few weeks are knitting toques that resemble female reproductive organs. These symbolic acts of resistance are necessary and important.
As an Indigenous woman, I recognize that my very existence is political. I exist because my ancestors fought against oppressive forces by the act of surviving. My ancestors encountered countless difficulties through the enforcement of colonial laws and policies. We survived these discriminatory laws and policies and for them I marched.
Yesterday I brought my gispewada (killer whale clan) drum to the march. I beat my gispewada drum, which I made when I was 17 years old. My brother Phil painted a gispewada design on it for me to use in our Ts’msyen dance group. When I drum, I think of my family and my Ts’msyen, Dene, and Métis people. I also think about how I may not be with my people physically, but we are unified in our hearts. For every time I drum I think of how the drumbeat symbolizes our collective heart beats. The drumbeat is the heartbeat of our people and ancestors who gave up so much for us to be alive.
For these reasons I write this and I march.