Article: An open letter of apology to my First Nation and Indigenous sisters

Luanna Harper, Plains Cree. (Photo: Ingrid Foster) This is a sincere and long-overdue apology to the Anishinaabekwe and to all indigenous and First Nation women.  From the bottom of my heart, it is with truth, a humility, a love, and an unwavering respect that I write these words to each of you today -- my Sisters.

I apologize for every time we, as men, do not make you feel beautiful, valued, appreciated, cherished, and worthy of nothing less than respect, reverence, and honour -- not only with our words, but with our actions and how the very lives we live align with the words we speak.

I apologize for each time we, as men, do not congratulate you on each of your successes, when we fail to take the time to listen (and hear) your dreams and aspirations, and when we do not commit ourselves to supporting and encouraging you every single step along the way as you support and encourage us -- and just as committed and just as frequently.

For each time we forget that the small things matter and sincere sentiments truly count. For each time we forget to cook you soup and keep warm blankets (and your favourite movies) in-reach when you're feeling under the weather. For each time we think of taking a moment to leave you that note to wish you a good day before we leave for work, but choose not to again and again. For each time we have the opportunity to call you at the office or at home to tell you that you're on our minds, but decide we're "too busy." And for each time we stay silent instead of telling you "Miigwech for being who you are. I'm very thankful you're in my life."

For every time we disregard our traditional teachings which instruct us to treat each of you with respect, kindness and as equals -- in ways that we would want our own Mothers and Sisters to be treated. But also, for each time we sidestep our responsibilities of understanding, kindness and compassion to challenge other men when they disrespect you or treat you as anything less than sacred.

I apologize for every elected or entrusted leader who preaches-hollow about "protecting our Nations" and "valuing Seven Generations Forward" at a community gathering, at election time, or from a faraway podium while, at the same time, not respecting or valuing their own wife, partner or daughters in the very home they share. Ironically, wives, partners and daughters are all the very centre of our Nations and those who make Seven Generations Forward possible.

Read more -- An open letter of apology to my First Nation and Indigenous sisters |

Poem: Wounding of Our Womb

She played classical music,
At 8:00 am in the morning,
Drank her coffee,
Made the bed,
The dark woodwork,
Floral colors,
Country feel in a suburban home,

She played classical music,
To ease her day,
Maybe to,
Ease my day,
Down the industrial freeways,
Like a race,
But to survive was a skill,
Small car,
Old car,
Old Ford,

She played classical music,
It filled up the home,
A home that was once filled up with noise,
Hands on the face,
Hands on the face,
Love underneath,

She played classical music,
The wounding of my womb,
It was painful,
The wounding of my womb,
The wounding of a young girls womb,
I had felt like I was crippled,
Curled up in a ball,
Beyond oppressed,
Although speaking,
I could not speak,
Beneath it all was the strength of love,

She played classical music,
It was healing,
It was light,
To travel down the industrial freeways,
To the urban core,
To feel what I felt,
In the wounding of my womb,
Our womb,
We cried,
There was pain,
Violence against Native women,
Young women,
Learning to be powerful,
Learning to be role models,
Learning to love,

She played classical music,
Sometimes I turned the station on in my car,
All the way down,
Down the industrial freeways to the urban core,
The urban core which wounded my womb,
Wounded her womb,
Wounded our womb,
I've wrapped myself in a bubble,
A bubble or protection,
A bubble of healing,
A bubble of healing love for you,
My friend,
To heal,
To be free,
To undo the chains of violence on your body,
One day,

She played classical music,
One day it stopped,
It was divine timing,
Or right on time,
I still play classical music,
For healing,
For the healing of the wounding of my womb,
For the healing of the wounding of your womb,
Love can heal,
Love can decolonize,
Love can free up oppression,
Native sister to Native sister,
Anishinaabekwe supporting another Anishinaabekwe,