Today is the day we set aside to honour and respect all the women who brought us life, mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers and women who treat us like their sons and daughters and we consider as a mother. We would not be here today if it was not for our mother’s. We would not be the kind of people we are today without our mothers.
My mother has been gone for 14 Mother’s days. She is as much in my heart and mind as she was when she was alive. She spent many years looking after me, teaching me, supporting me and loving me. I was privileged to have had such a mother and I have a heart full of wonderful memories of the role she played in my life.
My mother’s mother was the oldest of the Chief’s family from Ucluelet. She was well taught, noble, and taught me values about our culture and who I am. She died when I was 12, and it was at that time I decided I wanted to become a lawyer. She had always encouraged me to go to school and learn the white man’s ways, but never forget who I was and where I came from. I became a lawyer and honoured her wish.
My father’s mother was an incredibly hard-working woman. Into her seventies she looked after others who couldn’t look after themselves. She taught me the value of all people and the need to use all your energies for a good purpose.
I have been entrusted with the care and teaching of two beautiful children. Both are in university pursuing their dreams and I couldn’t be more proud of the people they are. My children have made my life worthwhile. I was a single parent all their growing up years but I do not regret a moment of the challenges, joys, and memories we created as a family. I am eternally grateful to my mother, sisters and friends who became other mothers to my children. It is so true that it is a community that raises a child. I remember so many times being away at some very contentious, negative meetings, coming home feeling beaten and wounded, hugging them and remembering why I did what I did. It was for their future, for their rights, and that they may not have to fight the same battles I do. After I hugged them, life fell back into perspective and I was rejuvenated and healed. Their unconditional love worked wonders and still does today. They have joined me in defending our rights and we often are at events and protests together lending our voices and support. I am thankful they share the same values I do.
As I reflect over the role of mothers, I can’t help but think of the mother’s of the missing and murdered woman. How hard is this day to celebrate being a mother when your daughter is missing and you don’t know where she is. You hope she is alive and well somewhere but fear the worst. Or being a mother that mourns her child’s violent death with no justice for her death or no reason for her being taken. How much worse that situation is because the governments in this country refuse to do a public inquiry or take substantial action to resolve past wrongs and prevent more women going missing or being murdered. We have to make the governments realize that these women are real, they are the daughters, mothers, granddaughters of families who love them, miss them and want to resolve an issue that plagues them every waking moment. That this is an issue that indigenous people will continue to raise the profile on and work relentlessly to find solutions to a matter that affects all our lives.
Women in this world play a significant role in their family, in their community and in the world. Women are strong spokespersons to protect our lands, water, air and all forms of life. Women are the life givers, teachers, the keepers of water and so much more.
On this day let us also honour Mother Earth who provides us with all that we need to live. She is called Mother Earth because she nurtures and provides for us. Let us renew our commitment to fight to protect her from developments that will destroy her and eventually us in the process. I feel empowered when I see pictures of strong women I know holding up signs like “A Wall of women Opposing Kinder Morgan” or a "Wall of Women Protecting our Coast”. I know with women speaking up against developments we are playing a key role in stopped them. I think of Liz Logan a voice against Site C, Chief Sharleen Gale fighting fracking in her territory, Brenda Sayers fighting against the Canada China Treaty that will invariable take more resources from our territories, Carleen Thomas fighting Kinder Morgan, Marilyn Baptiste who fought against Prosperity Mine, Annita McPhee of the Tahltans keeping development out of their sacred headwaters, and so many more fighting major developments including Enbridge. I raise my hands to all women who are protectors of Mother Earth. Collectively we can do anything.
On this day, enjoy and love your mother’s, the women in your life that have helped make you who you are. Respect them as givers of life, honour them and do something to make them feel special.
On this day, send a message to Harper, or his Minister, your MP and MLA about the missing and murdered women. Never let up on the pressure they must feel to take positive and substantial action to resolve a horrendous issue that is happening to indigenous women across this land.
On this day, commit yourself to taking action, speaking out, educating others on the developments that will impact the quality of our lives, that will denigrate Mother Earth, and ensure that our children and great grandchildren will live in such a beautiful, plentiful, and wondrous world that we live in today.
I honour all Mother’s today and respect each of you for the love, dedication, sacrifice and joy you have experienced by bringing children into this world, teaching them and helping to shape our tomorrows.