Wilson-Raybould moves Indigenous women to speak the truth

Her recent actions have inspired local B.C. women

Rita Merrick, Indigenous education and services administrative assistant at Langara. Photo: Austin Everett
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Reported by Austin Everett

Kinesiology student Angela Thomas has always been proud to be an Indigenous woman, and seeing Jody Wilson-Raybould stand up to the prime minister of Canada has given her even more self-confidence living in an era where women can speak truth to power.

As an Indigenous woman from the Pacific Coast who took a stand against the prime minister, Wilson-Raybould has inspired other women across the province.

Challenging traditions

Thomas said the path Wilson-Raybould set, becoming a cabinet minister and resigning, gives her something to strive for. Seeing Wilson-Raybould challenge traditional power structures is empowering, Thomas said.

“Jody is challenging that, which is good because it will definitely open doors for us challenging the system,” said Thomas.

Wilson-Raybould recently resigned from her post after an alleged “consistent and sustained effort” from government officials to intervene in a corruption and fraud case involving SNC-Lavalin.

It was the prime minister who invited Wilson-Raybould to lead, but she is the one, as an Indigenous person, urging women from her example, to contend, said Ginger Gosnell-Myers, former Aboriginal relations manager for the City of Vancouver.

“It’s okay to be the lone voice in opposition and to uphold important values,” said Gosnell-Myers. She added the price of our value is far too low, and Jody has shown us that we’re actually worth fighting for.”

Times are changing

Judith Sayers, president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, said that the “glass ceiling” is shattering.

“The social constructs of this country have been raised now,” said Sayers, who advocates change.

Change should include institutions willing to make space for Indigenous women, said Rita Merrick, Indigenous education and services administrative assistant at Langara.

It’s an extra motivation for me to show up and not be shy to root my everyday work relationships in an Anishinaabe-Dakota way,” Merrick said.

Deanna Nyce, president and CEO of the Wilp Wilxo’oskwhl Nisga’a Institute in Northwestern B.C., said Indigenous female students may look at Wilson-Raybould and discover there are many opportunities for them in Canadian society.

“It’s a good thing to have these kinds of role models,” Nyce said.

Ginger Gosnell-Myers

Judith Sayers

Deanna Nyce

 

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