What does Aboriginal Women’s Leadership mean to me?

A few days ago I attended a dinner to see a few friends since I’ve been back from my travels. In addition, I met some new folks, did some zine swapping and came home with some Indigenous art and literature goodies. I had the lovely opportunity to get my paws on an aesthetically pleasing zine called Kimiwan zine (http://kimiwanzine.com/) and an AMAZING compilation of stories called “Indigenous Young Women Lead: Our stories, Our strengths, our truths.”(you can download the PDF here ).  I have been reading the latter and it felt like my hair was blown back. It is about what Aboriginal Women’s Leadership means. One of the stories left me in tears and with heartache because I related so strongly to her words without having to talk about the endless politics of genocide, racism, rape, hate and all the violence we as Indigenous people have encountered but more so about the human condition and our hopes and dreams we hope to be and to strive towards as an Aboriginal women. It was beautiful. Sorry to get all sappy on you but it’s very rare for me to read something that it written directly and for Aboriginal women BUT when I do, I get all sappy and warm and fuzzy inside (I felt like the girl to the left in the RC Gorman painting below 😛 ). It also made me think what Aboriginal leadership is to me and now I feel inspired to write a piece on it from my experiences as an Indigenous woman. Below is the introduction to the piece that gave me the warm and fuzzies; you can check out the rest of the story here.
What does Aboriginal Women’s Leadership mean to me?
By Audrey Armstrong
It means that you are a strong and confident woman who has been through a tough
life and survived to talk about it. A woman who can share that story with us so that
we may learn and grow from her experiences. If you are successful and happy in what
you do then I look up to you. Hardworking, honest and humble women are who I look
up to. I honestly do not look up to people who have been born into privilege. To me
I don’t think that being born with a silver spoon in your mouth makes you a leader. A
true leader is someone who is not afraid of being different, and not afraid to get down
on the level of someone who is down and out. Being a true role model is someone who
has had to work for everything that they have, and overcoming huge obstacles such as
drugs, alcohol, street life etc. Being able to relate to young women and share the story
of your life is what makes you a leader. That is what makes a person want to change. If
you are able to share your story with young women who are in trouble is what makes
you a leader. You never know whose life you may be changing just by sharing your story.
Some girls are able to see that, ‘hey, if you can do it, why can’t I?’ That’s pretty much
how I am able to succeed in my life right now. I have always looked up to strong women,
not only Aboriginal but of all races. Any woman that was born into a hard life and have
worked hard and are successful today are worthy of my admiration. I have always told
myself, I will be someone; I will make something of myself. And someday I can share my
story with young women. And I do. I work with youth and I tell them my story, I am not
ashamed of what I have been through in life, I am a strong person and I have survived to
talk about it. I have hit a few speed bumps along the road, but really, who hasn’t? Above
all I am proud of who I am.
❤ M.I.A.-Pull up the people ❤
Rc gorman
Nightwatch by RC Gorman

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