First Nations Women Rising

Aboriginal Women take leadership roles

By Janet Nicol

Photograph: GLADYS RADEK (LEFT) AND HOLLY PAGE

“The Aboriginal women’s community may not have the resources of other communities but they have something to say,” says Holly Page, equity and human rights officer for the British Columbia Government and Service Employees Union (BCGEU). “It has been very difficult for these women to get their messages out.” Page says many Aboriginal people don’t see unions as their allies either. “There are myths and misconceptions about unions and debates within some communities about whether unions are beneficial. Unions need to do some relationship building.”

Page should know. She is both Aboriginal and on staff with a union representing 65,000 members across B.C. with access to resources her Aboriginal sisters need. “Our union will print leaflets, buy food from Costco for events, and get the message out to our members,” Page says. And what are the messages? A top concern is the continued violence perpetrated against Aboriginal women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside; along the “Highway of Tears” in northern B.C., and in communities across Canada.

Aboriginal women have organized several “Walk 4 Justice” events and the February 14 Women’s Memorial March. “It’s been grassroots, and our union can help,” says Page.

To continue reading the interview with Holly Page and other dynamic First Nations women across Canada go to this link at Our Times Magazine, Spring 2011
http://ourtimes.ca/Featured_Story/article_138.php

Watch for a re-print of this article in the upcoming summer 2011 issue of Women and the Environments international magazine. Also, I have a story of the Walk4Justice, including an interview with Bernie Williams, in the “Agenda” section of New Internationalist magazine, June 2011 issue.

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