Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) held their Thanks for Listening Report launch on the evening of Oct. 4. The Thanks for Listening Report is an integral part of the Sashing Our Warriors campaign, emerging from the survey results of nearly 400 individuals and two focus groups learning about Metis women and girls’ experiences of violence.
The report is the first one to ever be executed in full and focuses on listening to the real-life experiences that Metis women and girls within B.C. have faced, along with how to begin the long, painful road of healing.
MNBC announced that increased funding will be provided to MNBC Chartered Communities to support the Sashing Our Warriors gatherings. The Sashing Our Warriors Campaign is a “grassroots movement that calls attention to the impact of violence on our otherwise invisible Métis women, girls and those who identify with them.” The MNBC says, “through the power of Métis ceremony, sashing and gifting, we will heal our communities emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Chartered Communities will have the opportunity access materials and seed funding to host Sashing Our Warriors community dialogues and gatherings.”
Ending violence with the power of ceremony is what being a sashed warrior truly is about, with each colour within the sash representing different paths necessary to healing.
Magenta is representative of “respecting and honouring our ancestors and life givers provides strength and comfort;” pink promises “to protect, love and nurture the women and girls in our lives;” black represents “warriors taking a stand to prevent violence against women and girls;” and white symbolizes “connecting to the earth and our creator.”
The event occurred on the same day as Sisters in Spirit, bringing awareness to the injustices faced that are either not widely known or swept under the rug in shame. Whether you are Métis yourself or just an ally, healing requires processing, and to do so, we must listen and learn to the stories of our Métis sisters.
The event began with Sheila Lewis’s opening remarks, and then blessed viewers with the wisdom of Elder Dory LaBoucane, who says, “I’m eternally grateful,” for the awareness brought to the long ongoing issue as well as the waves of support felt across B.C. for Métis women and girls.
Heaven of Hope Canada was also present during the virtual launch commenting, “the greatest violence is to not be seen, not be heard, and not be safe.”
Haley Grinder, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Columbia Valley Pioneer