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Violence against women is "the fastest way to remove people from the land": Leanne Simpson

How did Indigenous nations use treaties? What does fighting heteropatriarchy have to do with the resurgence of Indigenous nations? Should we ask for a public inquiry into missing and murdered native women? Leanne Simpson offers provocative answers to these and other questions in a talk given last November at Simon Fraser University.

One of the more powerful passages is Simpson's explanation of the use of violence against women by colonialism:

One of the immediate things we can do in urban and rural environments and that many community based groups are undertaking is the very hard but important work of dismantling heteropatriarchy and the systems of gendered violence in our community spaces, and creating safer spaces for Indigenous women and queer people where we are celebrated and cherished. To me, this is the centre, this is the core of our nation building work. Because gendered violence steals something very precious from us, that's very very difficult to get back, and that's our intimacy and our ability to connect in a good way, to the people that we love. We know from experience that the fastest way to remove people from the land, the fastest way to dispossess, is to attack women and children with sexual and gendered violence, because it destroys families almost instantly. Families are the core of our governance and our political system and all of our social organization. They are the direct contact to the land. Breaking that was the point of residential schools. The violence that was introduced into our nations in residential schools is still very much a part of how settler colonialism is maintained and reproduced in Canada. Here we have Canada talking about reconciliation out of one side of its mouth, while the other side is silent to over 600 missing and murdered Indigenous women, taking no responsibility, and worse than that, actively propelling the conditions that perpetuate violence against Indigenous women.
"When you're engaged in the right kind of process," Simpson says later on, "you generate good questions, and when you generate good questions, you generate good answers, and you generate good relationships."
Watch the whole thing here.

The Media Co-op has covered the movement for justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous women across Canada. See coverage from Vancouver, Montreal, and Halifax.

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dru (Dru Oja Jay)
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Writer, organizer, Media Co-op co-founder. Co-author of Paved with Good Intentions and Offsetting Resistance.

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