I don’t have a degree in Women’s Studies or Indigenous Studies, but as an Indigenous woman and a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and rape, I have something to say about missing and murdered Indigenous women.
I’m a fan of Clarissa Pinkola Estés and her book, Women Who Run With the Wolves. Estés tells the tale of Bluebeard, the symbolic predator that can lurk in a woman’s psyche. She writes, “In a culture where the predator rules . . . the soul-lives of its citizenry are paralyzed with both fear and spiritual famine.”
A National Inquiry
Among a group of women I know, the subject of the missing and murdered Indigenous women came up and I said, “Well of course Indigenous women are more vulnerable to predators,” and one woman asked, “Why?”
It’s obviously not obvious to everyone that cultural genocide has created a legacy of familial abuse, emotional and physical trauma among Indigenous people. Therefore, a national inquiry is needed so that all Canadians can face the consequences and take action to remedy colonial abuses on a foundational level.
A Look at the “Killing Thing”
As an Indigenous woman who grew up in a broken Métis Nation, I spent much of my young adult life emotionally and physically damaged, numb, exposed, unguarded, and continually found myself in dangerous situations. I recognized myself in this comment of Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ about the wounded woman as naïve prey: “There is a detour as she agrees to become the prize of the predator because her instincts to notice and do otherwise are not intact.” This is not a conscious “detour,” but one that is directly linked with colonial abuses.
Pinkola Estés offers advice on how to take action. A woman must, “Look to the killing thing that gained hold of her, see the result of its work, retain it consciously then act in her, not its behalf.” Indigenous women who have been murdered or are missing can no longer do this work for themselves, but other Indigenous women can and are. I’m not saying that it’s only on women’s heads to right the wrongs done by colonialism, but it’s in our best interest to depatriarchalize where we can.
Artists and activists like Christi Belcourt and the women involved in Walking With Our Sisters are educating through celebration of these women’s lives. Social media is exploding with campaigns such as the #ImNotNext movement—dismantling the destructive energy that is patriarchal colonialism.
What else can we do to dismantle the destructive energy of colonialism?Share: