Sharon Robinson is a citizen of Northern B.C. who shares the geopolitical reality of Indigenous women in Canada. She traces their legacy of racial and gender discrimination back to a legacy of misperceptions about Indigenous people at the time of Canadian Confederation.
Essentially, the root of this discrimination stems from the 1876 Indian Act, where a person is defined any anyone other than an Indian. As laws and government evolved, fear of native people justified the takeover of Indian lands and Indigenous women became accessories of men.
Thanks to women like Mary Two-Axe who spoke up and fought to protect Indigenous women, some protections are in place and being enforced but the problems around discrimination continue to oppress Indigenous women.
Today, sexual violence is a grave reality for Indigenous women. They are 3x more likely than other Canadian women to experience violence and 8x more likely to be murdered in Canada compared to other non-Indigenous women.
If the truth, as Sharon states at the beginning of her talk, is about our stories and that’s all we are, we need to tell a new story for our Indigenous Canadians. After witnessing first-hand the devastating challenges of my Inuit sisters in Nunavut during my Arctic journey, there is no time to lose.