Decolonising Women’s Rights: Indigenous Perspectives

Thanks giving means different things to different people, speaking on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous relatives crisis during COP26, Sikowis Nobiss believes we’ve still much to learn about history as well as current injustices.  

“I mean, my God we still have like thanksgiving here which celebrates some weird story about Indigenous people and settlers coming together and breaking bread. You know, the truth is that they came in, raped and pillaged and murdered and stole. You know? That’s really what’s going on.”

On the 1st of November we welcomed Sikowis Nobiss, Plains Cree/Saulteaux and founder of Great Plains Action Society, to speak during her virtual tour of Scotland, as an important voice on Indigenous rights during COP26. Sikowis is active in Native American politics, protection of rights, climate change mitigation, justice and fairness in representations in popular culture and cultural festivals.

Sikowis spoke about her personal experiences of The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives (MMIR) crisis of Turtle Island (Turtle Island is a name for Earth or North America, used by some Indigenous peoples in Canada and the United States, as well as by some Indigenous rights activists). Native American and Alaska Native Peoples (mostly women and girls) face the highest rate of murder, abduction, disappearances, suicide rates, domestic abuse, sexual and violent assault. However, the MMIR crisis is rarely discussed in mainstream (settler) media in the US. The fact that the US government and large NGOs have done little to take on this issue is telling of institutionalised white supremacy that makes it harder to solve this crisis. It is often up to Indigenous Peoples themselves to take a grassroots approach to disseminate information, provide resources to victims and the family of victims, and demand legislation for increased protections.

In response to the MMIR crisis Sikowis works to ensure that the crisis is acted upon in Iowa, Nebraska, and all over Turtle Island.

Accessibility information: This film has closed captions and a transcript is available to download here.

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