Families of Sisters in Spirit Zine Callout! Our Voices Matter : Talking Back

CALLOUT TO INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES!!

SEEKING SUBMISSIONS FOR UPCOMING ZINE BY FSIS – DEADLINE SEPT 30, 2013

Our Voices Matter : Talking Back

Families of Sisters in Spirit (FSIS) believes in centering stories and voices of Indigenous women, youth, families, communities and Nations. Highlighting our lived experiences as well as our power, resilience and strength are absolutely essential if we are to move forward as Indigenous peoples together in a good way; in a way that nurtures strong relations with non-Indigenous and settler peoples and ensures our collective futures are free from violence and oppression.

What?

An online and print zine for and by First Nations, Métis, Inuit and mixed-heritage Indigenous peoples, women, youth, families, Elders, elders, two-spirit/queer/gender fabulous, and grassroots folks. Please send us your submissions!

We are accepting a wide variety of submissions including memoirs, personal testimonies, short stories, short plays, prose, poetry, lyrics, photographs, art, collages, paintings, drawings, carvings, sculptures or other creative commentary by Indigenous peoples. We encourage emerging and unpublished as well as more established storytellers to submit. Topics are fairly broad but should speak to historical and ongoing colonial violence in Canada and what we need as Indigenous people to heal, resist and live as we were always meant to be.

Why?

We are making this zine in order to and validate our many and varied experiences of interpersonal and structural violence and celebrate our resilience and community power. Sharing our struggles and triumphs are acts of resistance and survival and show us that we are not alone. Our voices matter and affirm our self-determination as well as interdependence to one another and Mother Earth, and strengthens our families and communities.

Why else?

Because it feels like hardly nobody listens to us! Because Indigenous stories and experiences, especially those of women, are not valued as they should be. Because too often our complex realities are ignored and erased. Because we are tired of policies, decisions, and committees made on our behalf by people who are far removed from our realities. Because we are tired of people speaking for us and about us. Because we need to be the ones telling our stories. Because we are the experts in our own lives and we are talking back!

Who?

Families of Sisters in Spirit (FSIS) is a grassroots, non-profit, all volunteer, unfunded organization by family members of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls with support and solidarity from Indigenous and non-Indigenous allies and friends. FSIS is committed to extensive public education, media and social media engagement, fundraising, and especially capacity and relationship-building with/among Indigenous families of missing and murdered women and girls. We believe in facilitating safe(r) spaces for families to share, grieve and strategize together, privately and publicly. FSIS follows anti-oppressive, anti-colonial and Indigenous feminist frameworks that root our work in radical relationships with the land, one another, our ancestors and future descendents.

Two members of FSIS Colleen Cardinal (Hele) and Kristen Gilchrist have taken the lead in launching Our Voices Matter: Talking Back

Colleen Cardinal (Hele): zhaawanongnoodin mihingan dodem, saddle lake n’doojbah

My name is Southwind woman, I am wolf clan originally from Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Alberta on Treaty 6 territory. I am a Plains Cree mother of four young adults and grandma to a lively granddaughter named Rosalie. I am in the beginning stages of producing a documentary called The Sixties Scoop: A Stolen Generation that follows six First Nation women and men who were forcibly adopted out of their Nations and placed into non-Indigenous households far away from their families or homelands in the middle of the 20th century. I am a Sixties Scoop survivor raising awareness about how historical colonial violence has impacted and continues to shape my family. My sister Charmaine Desa was murdered in 1990 and my sister-in-law Lynne Jackson was also killed in 2004. I have been involved with FSIS for more than a year, often engaging in public education about violence(s) against Indigenous women and girls.

Kristen Gilchrist self-identifies as a white settler, queer/femme, survivor of violence(s), living with invisible disabilities, and situated within/across intersecting dimensions of privilege and oppression, agency and constraint. I am a graduate student in sociology at Carleton University, co-founder and allied/non family member with FSIS, and ally in the sex workers’ rights movement in the Ottawa area — traditional Algonquin territories.

How?

Please send all submissions to fsiszine@gmail.com with SUBMISSION as the subject. If it can’t be emailed, mail it to:

Suite 601, 250 City Centre Ave
Ottawa, ON K1R 6K7
℅ FSIS (zine)

The deadline is NOW September 30, 2013 at 11:59 pm! All submissions and inquiries about submissions should be sent to fsiszine@gmail.com

In your submission, please include:

– Your name (or name you want to be published)
– RELIABLE Contact information (in case we need to talk to you about your work)
– A brief (50-100 word) bio or description of who you are/what you do, etc. (if you want to include it)
– Please make sure all attachments are either in PDF, JPEG, Word, RTF, BMP or any other compatible program.
– Your submission should be in an attachment, not copy/pasted into the email. (If you have trouble with attachments, email us for help!)

*We acknowledge the limitations and contradictions inherent in requesting and publishing submissions in the colonial English language. Our hope is this is a starting place for sharing and that many different translations could be possible in the future.*

Want to submit? Get involved in the planning/making of the zine?
Wanna support FSIS?
Got concerns, questions, etc?
Email us at fsiszine@gmail.com to talk and if you’d like to get involved.

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July 9: Grassy Narrows Youth Leader Speaks Out

Chrissy Swain will speak and will be presenting a new documentary
Thursday, July 9
Umi Café at 6pm
610 Somerset St. W
ipsmo@riseup.net
https://ipsmo.wordpress.com

Chrissy Swain, a Grassy Narrows youth leader and mother will be speaking about the ongoing struggles for healing and land protection at Grassy Narrows. Chrissy will also present a new documentary about the history of the conflict there.

She is speaking out in order to draw attention to links between environmental destruction and the destruction of communities, to open dialogue about protecting and healing the earth, as well as healing communities and the relationships between them.

Since arriving in Southern Ontario last week, Chrissy Swain has already visited the Anishnabe protest camp at Dump Site 41 in Tiny Township, had a presence at the rally in solidarity with Six Nations against the formation of the Caledonia Militia in Cayuga, participated in the Peace Caravan to Akwesasne, and spoke on stage in front of over 1000 music fans at the Propaghandi concert on June 26 in Toronto.

Last year, Chrissy led a group of 22 youth from Grassy Narrows (and a few other First Nations communities), on the Protecting Our Mother Walk—over 1800 kilometres from Grassy Narrows to Toronto—which became a catalyst for the Gathering of Mother Earth Protectors and Sovereignty Sleepover last May at Queens Park, where the message was:

*Respect the right of First Nations to say no to economic exploitation and environmental destruction, no criminalisation of land protectors.*

* *

This year, Chrissy is planning another walk which is scheduled to leave from Grassy Narrows for Ottawa on August 24th.  This year’s walk will bring together representatives from communities across the province to deliver a united message to Ottawa that the rights of First Nations must be honoured and land protectors must not be criminalised.

Chrissy has been an integral leader in the Grassy Narrows resistance to logging on their territory, in the empowerment of youth, and the traditional resurgence of Anishnabe culture that is taking place in their community.

On December 2nd, 2002, the youth of the Grassy Narrows First Nation established a blockade on a logging road in their territory, and sparked what is now the longest standing and highest profile indigenous logging blockade in Canadian history. Grassy Narrows (Asubpeeschoseewagong) is a small Anishnabe community about 80 kilometres north of Kenora in Northwest Ontario. *The Grassy Narrows community has been through many traumas including relocation, residential schools, mercury contamination, flooding of sacred grounds and burial sites, and clearcut logging of their traditional territory. However, resistance is strong at Grassy Narrows where people are actively resisting the continued destruction of their territories, re-occupying their lands, reviving their culture and fighting for the right to manage their land as they see fit. ***

This tour, for Chrissy is a spiritual journey inspired by dreams and recent incidents. Chrissy and Grassy Narrows organizer Judy Dasilva visited the site of the Macintosh Residential School near Kenora. There, behind the old school site, instead of a memorial, they found several large hydro towers right at the site of the graves of those children who died at the school, disrespecting their memory.  Following the visit, Chrissy had dreams telling her that this was to be a symbol of the connection between the destruction of Indigenous lands, and the destruction of their communities. She began planning a second Protecting Our Mother Earth Walk that had been tentatively scheduled to leave Grassy Narrows on June 15.

The recent and ongoing standoff at Akwesasne is a spiritual sign to her that the time for the journey is imminent. The events of Friday June 12 (when the OPP brutally raided a solidarity blockade in Tyendinaga, and also escalated the police crackdown on protests by women from the Beausoleil First Nation who are camped at Dump Site 41) were a signal to Chrissy to forgo the walk across Northern Ontario so that she could be here now, talking to people in both settler and Indigenous communities, trying to build solidarity and support for communities engaged in land protection struggles, and to work towards healing.

“The government does not understand that words are not good enough. Talking ‘green’ and making empty apologies that don’t actually deal with real issues is not good enough. We have to *protect* the land—protect our Mother Earth. I want to tell Harper that apologies are not good enough. Canada needs to give proper respect to the victims, families and survivors of the residential schools. We need Canada to recognize the damage those schools have done to our communities and cultures, and we need an end to the destruction of our lands, and an end to native people being criminalised when they stand up for their rights to protect their lands, their cultures, and their communities.”
-Chrissy Swain, June 2009

Upcoming Events:

  • London, July 4*.  Empowerment Infoshop, 636 Queens Ave, 6-9pm. pbd.
  • Hamilton, July 7*.  Sky Dragon Centre, 27 King William St, 6-9pm. pbd.
  • Ottawa, July 9*.  Umi Cafe, 610 Somerset St W, 6-9pm.
  • Brockville, July 10*. St. Paul’s Anglican Church, 37 Victoria Ave, 7-9pm.