Two survivors of human rights abuses related to mining from Papua New Guinea
Catherine Coumans (MiningWatch Canada)
Jocelyn Wabano Iahtail (Attawapiskat First Nation)
After years of denying cases of sexual assault, Canadian mining company Barrick Gold compensated 119 women and girls who were victims of sexual violence by mine security in Papua New Guinea to the tune of ~$10,000 each for these abuses, but had them sign an agreement that they could never sue the company. Eleven of the women refused this remedy package and threatened to sue the company, resulting in a higher out of court settlement. Since that time, the 119 women who originally accepted the money from Barrick have organized into women’s groups and started to demand more dignified treatment from the company. Many others have never received any compensation at all, as allegations of sexual violence continue.
Closer to home, the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women has gained national and international attention due to the efforts of native women’s organizing and documentation efforts. These grassroots efforts have challenged official reports about the numbers of women who have disappeared, and created support and community for families and survivors of gendered violence.
From gaslighting tactics, to the cultural and legal barriers that prevent women from sharing their stories, we will look at the systemic forces that work to silence victims of abuse. We will also hear from courageous women who have self-organized with other survivors to tell their stories and demand accountability.
As a part of our Honouring Indigenous Women campaign, we are inviting you to join us in a short lecture with Lee Maracle, a highly respected woman from the Stoh:lo Nation and acclaimed author, poet, educator, storyteller and performing artist.
Last summer, we were very honoured to have Lee contribute a short piece of her writing to our Honouring Indigenous Women: Hearts of Nations Vol. 1 booklet. This Spring, we are very excited and feel so privileged again that Lee is coming to Ottawa to talk to us about a very important connection. A connection that cannot be missed, oversighted or disregarded. Because our survival and our freedom depend on it:
There is a direct connection between violence against earth and violence against women.
Then there is another connection Lee wants us to pay attention to:
There is also a connection between the past and our future; a relationship that allows us to turn around, to heal ourselves and our communities.
Are you intrigued?
Come and join us on April 26th at 233 Gilmour St. in Ottawa, Algonquin Territory! We promise it’s going to be a fascinating evening that will transform your heart, mind and spirit!
This event is brought to you by Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa – www.ipsmo.org
A little be more about Lee Maracle:
Lee is currently the Aboriginal Writer-in-Residence for First Nations House, and an instructor in the Aboriginal Studies Dept. at University of Toronto. She is one of the founders of the En’owkin International School of Writing in Penticton, BC, and Cultural Director of the Centre for Indigenous Theatre in Toronto. She mentors young people on personal and cultural healing and reclamation. (CBC, 8th Fire)
Books by Lee Maracle
Bobbi Lee: Indian Rebel – 1975 (revised 1990)
Sojourner’s Truth and Other Stories – 1990
Oratory: Coming to Theory – 1990
Sundogs – 1991
Ravensong – (Press Gang Publishers)1993
I am Woman: A Native Perspective on Sociology and Feminism – 1988; Press Gang Publishers 1996
“Embodied in my truth is the brilliance of hundreds of Native women who faced the worst that CanAmerica had to offer and dealt with it. Embodied in my brilliance is the great sea of knowledge that it took to overcome the paralysis of the colonized mind. I did not come to this clearing alone. Hundreds walked alongside me – Black, Asian and Native women whose tide of knowledge was bestowed upon me are the key to every CanAmerican’s emancipation.”
– Lee Maracle in I am Woman: A Native Perspective on Sociology and Feminism
Lee Maracle speaking at May Day Assembly 2011
The Silence is Broken, But the Violence Continues: Now What? event at the Native Canadian Centre in Toronto on July 20, 2011
The Silence is Broken, But the Violence Continues: Now What? Part II event at the Native Women’s Resource Centre in Toronto on November 24, 2011
All dis-empowered people seek empowerment. Patriarchy defines empowerment as the equivalent of power – over someone. This is the unifying philosophy that binds racism and sexism together. Power over the natural world, power over people, power over the seas, the air, time itself. Empowerment is the personal quest for oneness with nature, oneness with people, the seas, the skies, and time. The quest for power dis-empowers the very people who need to be empowered in order to alter the course of our story.
– Lee Maracle (Racism, Sexism and Patriarchy in Returning the Gaze Essays on Racism, Feminism and Politics: p.129)