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← Sisters in Spirit 2011: Aboriginal Sex Worker Education Outreach Project

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Showing Revision 3 created 02/11/2012 by Radical Access Mapping Project.

  1. First up, my spirit name is Mnido Giizis Ogichidaa: A Moon Spirit Guardian.

  2. And one of my fasts, I was given a message
  3. that there's too many of our women's hearts on the ground.
  4. and the death of a nation is when our women's hearts are on the ground.
  5. And that shortly after that fast, I ended up speaking in the parliament of Canada,
  6. debating the laws on sex work.
  7. And I was in a room filled with politicians and lawyers
  8. and everybody with fancy pieces of paper,
  9. and I was there with my eagle feather.
  10. And I was talking about
  11. how 500 women to us,
  12. is equivalent to 25,000 women in any other community.
  13. If another community lost 25,000 women,
  14. I'm sure people would be up in arms.
  15. They would be organizing.
  16. They would not sit down and live in silence.
  17. Um, at Maggie's, our project is the first of its kind in our country.
  18. And this is years after the Stolen Sisters report.
  19. I want to acknowledge that 60% of the women found on the pig farm
  20. were First Nations women.
  21. That their families had to lobby the police to investigate their crimes.
  22. Sex workers are mothers,
  23. they're fathers,
  24. they're brothers and sisters,
  25. they're Two Spirit,
  26. they have other things,
  27. other than being a sex worker.
  28. Sex work is their job.
  29. It's not OK to kill a sex worker.
  30. It's not OK to kill an Aboriginal woman
  31. or Two spirited person.
  32. Um, this is a drum we made at Maggie's,
  33. it's the first time we did drum-making at Maggie's.
  34. What we're trying to do with the project
  35. is we're trying to open the circle
  36. so that we can include people in our community
  37. that don't feel part of our community;
  38. so that we can take them out of isolation and include them in our circle.
  39. So we're doing that by including them in the sex work community,
  40. but also reaching out to community organizations
  41. so that they can participate in community organizing,
  42. and be OK with saying "Hi, I'm a sex worker".
  43. Um, shame lives in silence.
  44. That's been my experience.
  45. If you wanna get rid of shame,
  46. we have to start talking.
  47. You know?
  48. And it's, this is the remnants possibly of colonialism,
  49. where we don't talk about sex,
  50. let alone sex for money.
  51. So I'm gonna end my speak by acknowledging the spirits that have gone on,
  52. our mothers, the mothers, the daughters, the aunties.
  53. That it wasn't because they were a sex worker
  54. that they deserved to die.
  55. They did not deserve to die.
  56. They needed to be honoured,
  57. they needed to be cherished,
  58. they needed to be included in the circle.
  59. So I'm going to sing a song,
  60. the Seven Grandfather Teaching Song
  61. on the drum that was made in our sex worker organization,
  62. for the people who couldn't come here today
  63. and speak to you about their stories and say "hi, I'm a sex worker".
  64. And I'm hoping that it can, we can meet people where they are
  65. instead of waiting til they're healed enough to be in a sweatlodge, or community circles,
  66. and then maybe we won't have so many vigils.
  67. [Song begins]
  68. [others join singing]
  69. [song ends with cheers]
  70. Oh, thank you so much for that gift, Maurganne, that was beautiful.