Indigenous Women Walk to Canada's Parliament to Have Treaties Honoured
Ontario, Canada – On the 18th of June 2014, Indigenous elders from Onion Lake in Saskatchewan and Alberta performed a 12-hour ceremonial gathering called Iskewak Pasikowak (women rising up) on Victoria Island before walking to Parliament Hill in Ottawa. The event started with a ceremony at sunrise until 11:30 am and then they walked to Parliament Hill. “Indigenous women rise up to protect the lands, waters and Peoples! Our Elders tell of a time when the Women of the Indigenous Nations will stand up to the protect the lands, waters and Peoples of their respective territories. Please join us as we protect the future for all Treaty Peoples,” is what their statement said on the Facebook event page.
Photographer, Clayton Thomas-Muller took these images and wrote on his Facebook page, “Today I sang with the O-Town Boyz on Parliament Hill here in Canada’s Capitol City. We sang an honour song to lift up the spirits of some very humble KooKum’s that were carrying powerful medicine to wake up our Treaty Peoples across these lands…my son Jaxson shook each of their hands and offered each of these sacred life givers tobacco that we picked up in Kanehsatake last weekend were we had traveled to great walkers who walked from the east in resistance to tar sands pipelines. The tobacco is a thousands years old strain of ceremonial tobacco grown by one of the local elders in Kanehsatake. As in the old days the spirits responded to today’s ceremony and the Thunderbirds are descending on Ottawa as I write to bring their sacred cleansing waters to bless these Grandmothers from Treaty 6 and all the peoples of our sacred lands.”
The group states, “The women of Onion Lake within the Treaty Six from western part of Canada, Alberta and Saskatchewan are going to be on Victoria Island to do a sunrise ceremony and other ceremonies are related to the role and responsibility of women and our caring for current and future generations. There has been so much hard done to our Nations especially against the women with the targeting of our Children for residential schools, the child welfare system and more recent issues related to the murdered and missing women.”
“We are not in Ottawa to request anything - the women are coming to offer their prayers and to state their message. It is a statement of strength and power of the Indigenous Women as the caretakers of Turtle Island and in this regard they would like to invite all sisters and supporters to participate.”
The assembled Elders shared their concerns in a spiritual event designed to take back the power over First Nations lands, water and Peoples. Remarks by Matilda Lewis can be heard HERE. Remarks by Gloria Chocan can be heard HERE. The gathering of Elders and supporters concluded with a symbolic ‘walk away from’ Parliament, taking the power with them. Communicating with the spirit of the Ottawa River, the Elders walked away from Parliament to Westboro Beach, smudging and blessing the water along the way. http://youtu.be/6RPezTRnH20