Jessica is the founder and Executive Director of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network that works across issues of sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice throughout the United States and Canada.
On behalf of the Government of Canada and all Canadians, we would like to offer a full and sincere apology to Inuit for the relocation of families from Inukjuak and Pond Inlet to Grise Fiord and Resolute Bay during the 1950s.
I'm fresh from visiting "Rubbers: The Life, History, and Struggle of the Condom" at the Museum of Sex in New York City today (which I highly recommend to check out!).
But besides having "safes" (that's what my aunties used to call them) on the brain from that exhibit (and of course the fact that I work in sexual and reproductive health day in and day out), I came across a great article on AlterNet by Kate McKay Bryson entitled "Use a Condom, Save a Polar Bear? Not That Simple" about the many factors besides human overpopulation that contribute to our environmental crises.
I'm proud to be an Indigenous feminist and I'm not apologizing for it. In fact this very statement "Native Feminisms Without Apology" was the title of an incredible conference in 2006 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign I so wish I could have been at.
No one likes to be pigeon-holed into any kind of stereotypical box, but the long history of colonization and oppression of Indigenous people has shoved us so far from mainstream public view (and blogosphere, I might add) that it's no wonder there exist these warped, outrageously wrong ideas about who we are. No, we don't all live on reservations (more than 140,000 urban Natives live in LA alone!) and yes, we are currently one of the fastest growing populations. With over 750 First Nations in (what we now call) the United States and Canada alone, it's unrealistic to think that we're all the same. Well I'm here to make the record clear, and encourage you to fiercely challenge what you think you already know.
The province of Quebec in Canada, in all its infinite wisdom (insert witty sarcastic comment here) has decided to table legislation that would ban the niqab -- and any face covering if worn from receiving public services from the provincial government.
Hillary Clinton has recently made waves in Canada with a few of her statements regarding maternal child health and the lack of Inuit inclusion in the recent multi-country "discussions" on arctic sovereignty.
These are both particularly sore spots for me -- one being that the current government in Canada has itself in a tizzy deciding whether or not contraception and abortion should be part of Canada's all of a sudden, magical "important stance" on maternal child health in the upcoming G8 summit (and for those of you who know anything about the Conservative government and party in Canada know that for the most part they don't really give a shit about vaginas). Hillary said that maternal child health SHOULD include contraception and abortion. So thank you Hillary for that.
As I rush off and dash to jet-set again for yet another destination and another area of Turtle Island – I’m reminded this time around that the place I’m going to requires me to stop, pause, and really think about what it is I’m about to do.
It’s December 6th 2009, and many people have been asking me what I’m thinking today. What do I think about this day where 20 years ago, a man walked into a Montreal engineering college and shot 14 women, specifically because they were women. Interestingly enough, I had to fight to have a female Aboriginal Elder open and be present at the event I’m speaking at today because the organizers “didn’t want to detract from the meaning of the day” by me asking her to say some words. It’s the 20th anniversary of the École Polytechnique shooting, and people keep asking me, so what do I think about that?