By Holliston Logan
This week for #followfriday we bring to you 4 Indigenous Matriarchs in Politics - these fierce, outspoken, and resilient women have been making monumental changes and leading important conversations through their work in politics. Actively working in systems designed to oppress and control your people is no easy undertaking, and one that we applaud these Matriarchs for bravely trailblazing. What other Indigenous Matriarchs in politics do you recommend we check out? Leave a comment on our Instagram!
Mumilaaq Qaqqaq (ᒧᒥᓛᖅ ᖃᖅᑲᖅ) is an Inuk woman, Member of Parliament, and human rights defender. Elected in 2019, she is one of the few people to have given a speech in the House of Commons before being elected, and she continues to deliver powerful and heartfelt speeches igniting change. Recently, Mumilaaq announced she will not be running for re-election, and her farewell speech
is powerful and filled with passion, strength, and important truths and calls to action. Her voice is shaking up the House of Commons and we applaud Mumilaaq on the work she is doing to amplify the calls to action for Justice before wrapping up her elected term, with more hard work underway as Mumilaaq is co-hosting March for Truth and Justice
alongside Charlie Angus, as well as local Elders, held in Ottawa this upcoming Saturday, July 31st beginning at 12:00 pm EST. In an interview with CBC
, Mumilaaq commented: "I don't want to be viewed as Mumilaaq the courageous MP. I want to be Mumilaaq the person that wants and has human needs, which are genuine connection and interaction. And you can't find that very much in politics. And as Mumilaaq, I'm not happy anymore, and I haven't been for a long time. This is the first time in my life I'm going to be doing something completely selfish. I have been so selfless for the last 27 years, and it's time for me to find what I truly want and where my true passions are.
" Wherever those passions take her, we know that Mumilaaq will be a catalyst for change.
Betty Nippi-Albright, who is Saulteaux and Cree from Kinistin Saulteaux Nation, is a mother, grandmother, first generation University graduate, politician, and community advocate with focus on education, mental health & addictions, and policy and partnership development. Leadership is part of Betty's heritage with her great-grandfather being a signatory for the adhesion to Treaty 4 in 1876. She was elected to the Saskatchewan Legislature in 2020 as the MLA for Saskatoon Centre. In her role, Betty is the opposition critic for First Nations and Métis Relations, Truth and Reconciliation, and the Public Service Commission. She approaches this role with lived experience having attended residential school herself for nine years, coupled with involvement in her traditional cultural ceremonies where she remains actively involved to this day. Betty is a powerhouse working to make change for the generations to come, including her own grandchildren. In an interview with APTN, Betty commented on her motivation for her work: "
“Growing up in residential school, growing up in poverty, facing racism, facing racism in the employment sector … I have faced a lot of obstacles in my life,
” Nippi-Albright said. When faced with the idea of running for politics she was reluctant but then looked at the faces of her grandchildren. “I have grandchildren that have darker skin than I do and I thought if I don’t step up, because I do have a voice, if I don’t step up my granddaughters, and my grandchildren, are going to have to do this hard work of facing an uphill battle,” she said.
Jody Wilson-Raybould, a We Wai Kai Nation woman who carries the Kwak’wala name Puglaas, is currently an Independent Member of Parliament representing Vancouver Granville. Before entering the world of federal politics, Jody had extensive experience on a provincial level where she was a BC provincial Crown prosecutor, a treaty commissioner, and the regional chief of the BC Assembly of First Nations. When Jody was originally elected as a Member of Parliament in 2015 she was a member of the LIberal party, however, she left the cacus in 2019 amid the SNC-Lavalin affair. During her time with the Liberal caucus she served as justice minister and attorney general, briefly as the veterans minister and associate national defence minister. Although Jody has announced she will not be running for re-election and will be stepping back from politics, we know that she will be continuing to create change with whatever path she chooses to journey down next. Jody also recently wrote a memoir titled 'Indian' in the Cabinet: Speaking Truth to Power which will be released in the fall of 2021, so be sure to pick up a copy when it is out!
connect with Jody Wilson-Raybould
website | twitter | facebook | instagram
Lidia Thorpe, a proud Gunnai Gunditjmara and Djab Wurrung woman, lifelong activist and fighter for human rights, social justice and the environment, is currently elected as a Senator for Victoria, Australia. "In 2017, Lidia Thorpe became the first Aboriginal person elected to Victorian parliament, as the Greens MP for Northcote. In September 2020, Lidia took her seat as Victoria's first Aboriginal Senator in the federal Parliament. Lidia was sworn in to the Senate holding a message stick burned with 441 marks, one for each death in custody since the handing down of the findings of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1991 and holding up her fist in a gesture of strength and solidarity." (as quoted from the Australian Greens website) Lidia is the portfolio holder and Greens Federal spokesperson for First Nations, Justice, and Sport. Lidia a passionate advocate for the vast inequalities in health, education, poverty and employment that Indigenous Australians experience and comments: "In order to reconcile our nation, we need to face some uncomfortable truths about our past, and about our present. Only once truth-telling takes place and once the nation hears all our voices, can we create a country we can all be proud of and face our future challenges together. I will be part of that truth-telling, and help bring us together." (as quoted from the Australian Greens website)
connect with Lidia Thorpe
website | twitter | facebook | instagram
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