Canada, the United States, Chile… the revenge of indigenous women

Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada in Gatineau (Canada), July 6, 2021. First Aboriginal woman in this position. (Shawn Kilpatrick/MAXPPP)

Canada has been rocked for months by the residential school scandal. To satisfy morale, the government this week appointed an Aboriginal woman to a very prestigious position. Mary Simon, 73, with long gray hair, will become Governor General of Canada. This means that the representative of Queen Elizabeth II, officially the head of state. It is a symbolic position, its functions will be largely official, but it will be very revealing. It is the laws that will be issued officially. Marie Simon, an Inuit originally from Nunavik (Northern Quebec), became known in the 1980s through her condemnation of Arctic pollution and oil drilling. She is the first Indigenous woman to hold the position of Governor General of Canada.

Beyond the code, this appointment is important. It is an attempt by the authority to satisfy the conscience. “Because of the commitments between Canada and the Aboriginal people, we had to appoint someone from the community because otherwise, we had the feeling that it was the whites who would decide things again.”Analysis Anne Pasteur, journalist and author of The Platform Indigenous women’s voices.

Canada is currently grappling with its painful history with indigenous peoples. For decades, until 1996, tens of thousands of Native American, Métis and Inuit children were forcibly sent to boarding schools and abused. “We washed their skin with bleach, and they were forbidden to speak their language. I accompanied one of the women to her old boarding school and when we passed the boiler room, and she felt bad because in the boiler room she abused the children every evening”, tells Annie Pasteur in her documentary, Children of Shame, Journey to Homeland.

The discovery of thousands of graves near these settlements in late May and late June reminded all Canadians of this terrible legacy. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made this a priority in his term, and by appointing Mary Simon, he showed it and admitted Canada’s guilt, even though the boarding schools were run by the church. At least 4,000 died in these boarding schools.

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Canada has “This dose of guilt is that he is trying to purify his conscience and try to reform these centuries of colonialism.”Anne Pasteur says. This date allows To enter the dialogue stage.. Marie Simon, for her part, considers this “The appointment represents an important step on the long road to reconciliation.” Essential dialogue because in Canada, “Indigenous peoples still live under Indian law and are legally considered minors and do not have the same rights,” You remember Anne Pasteur.

Mary Simon isn’t the only Aboriginal woman to have been promoted to a prestigious position recently. In Chile, an indigenous woman was elected this week President of the Constituent Assembly Responsible for drafting the new constitution. Elisa Luncón, a Mapuche native, was elected to represent Chile’s diversity. “This election at the head of the Chilean Constituent Assembly is very symbolic, Notice France culture. One of the discussions in the new Chilean constitution concerns the recognition of indigenous peoples, since Chile, along with Uruguay, is one of the few Latin American countries that does not recognize them. But the recognition of indigenous rights and the establishment of a Chilean plurinational state is one of the main themes of the agreement that begins work on a new constitution.”

in the United States of America, Deep Haaland, this year he became the first Native American to hold a cabinet position. She is the Secretary of the Interior, appointed by Joe Biden, responsible for overseeing the exploitation of natural resources, national parks and part of environmental protection issues.

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On the American continent, we feel the awakening of the indigenous people. It must be said that these societies have struggled for a very long time for the values ​​that are really beginning to be heard in our societies: the status of women, the protection of the environment. They are proactive in “l’extractivisme”Remember Anne Pasteur, They denounced water pollution, respiratory diseases and cancer. related to environmental issues. Among the indigenous population, it is women who manage the natural resources and are on the front lines. Today, they are also studying for a long time. Elisa Longon has three Ph.D.s. They understood that in order to be heard, their battle had to move on the legal, technical and media grounds. It is the revenge of the original women.

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