Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,
Have you heard about Marlene Bird?
Can you imagine that Marlene is but one representation of all the statistics and commentaries we see all the time in our media? Surely it’s time to admit that we can no longer maintain the systems that lead to missing, murdered, trapped and injured sisters like Marlene.
Marlene’s situation is overwhelming to consider. She is a sister, a mom, a Keeper of her language and most importantly a trauma survivor. Marlene Bird is also a testament of our society’s ability to marginalize Indigenous women. Can you correct what Canada has gotten so very wrong?
First Nations, Inuit and Métis families comprise the largest group of young people, such as Marlene’s children, or my own. Will Canada reconcile with this information and help revitalize Indigenous families?
Like any parent, I want to protect my family to the best of my ability. But what some cannot understand is that Indigenous families live in a different reality. It is a difficult task to understand another’s perspective—even when there is willingness, and an open heart.
One in four Aboriginal women will be sexually or violently assaulted in their lives. When you have a stat like that facing you and your immediate family, your view of the world is altered irreparably. There’s fear for all of your relations. This fear has been running deeply in our families, for many years, in all of our nations. We are born with trauma in our cells and tissue; circumstance will determine much of the rest. These are intergenerational effects.
Of course, I have no trouble admitting that I am biased. I am a First Nations woman, the oldest child in my family, and the first to graduate from university. As a single parent of two young people with their steps out into the world still before us, I can only move forward in the best way that I know how—as a role model and a leader who uses her voice.
Will you help Marlene? Will you help others who are growing up within Canada’s institutional organizations? Reconciliation is a word that youth hear a lot these days and there are many community members pursuing academic goals right now, in order to create alternatives and solutions.
Please #helpMarleneBird and help #RevitalizeIndigenousFamilies.