By Darlene Wroe
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
TEMISKAMING SHORES – On International Women’s Day March 8, Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) president Carol McBride stated her pride in the achievements of women and girls across Canada.
“I would particularly like to honour Indigenous women as they continue to lead, inspire and make change,” said McBride, who is a former chief and councillor of the Timiskaming First Nation, and a past grand chief of the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council.
She spent time at Keepers of the Circle New Liskeard for tea and bannock to celebrate the day with other Indigenous women of the area.
“This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is Embrace Equity,” said McBride in a news release.
“To embrace equity is to recognize the unique challenges Indigenous women and girls face and to work together to create a society where we can thrive. I strongly believe equitable inclusion in all decisions about our people is paramount to reconciliation.
“We must listen to and learn from Indigenous women and girls. We must work to eliminate the systemic barriers that prevent Indigenous women and girls from fully participating in Canadian society. We must be inclusive of all voices to ensure true representation.
“On this International Women’s Day, let us celebrate, and then commit to continuing to work together to build a better, safer, more inclusive future.
“Recently, our team at NWAC launched the Change the Bill campaign advocating for the inclusion of an Indigenous woman on the Canadian $20 bill. By featuring Indigenous women on our currency, we can inspire future generations of Indigenous women and girls and promote greater awareness of their achievements and contributions.
Already through this campaign, we’ve been able to introduce Canadians to Rita Joe, Margaret Pictou, Josephine Mandamin, Elsie Knott, and many more Indigenous change-makers.”
She pointed to the ongoing violence and obstacles facing Indigenous women, and the efforts to push forward and make their voices heard.
“The women in our communities have faced an indescribable amount of discrimination and violence, and yet we push forward.
“They tried to take away our culture, and yet today we celebrate it because we are resilient.
“They steal our sisters, and yet we continue to search and fight for them because we are strong.
“They try to keep us out of the decision-making rooms, and yet we walk in and take our seat at the table because we are determined.
“We are the life givers, the knowledge keepers, the community builders. We are powerful.”
Darlene Wroe is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter with TEMISKAMING SPEAKER. The LJI program is federally funded.