We are so grateful and thankful to the CBC Thunder Bay for sharing the story about our Snowsuit drive for the students at Eenchokay Birchstick School in Pikangikum.
to read the CBC article click here.
In mid-December a call was put out on social media from Vice-principal Jennifer of the Eenchokay Birchstick School of the need for many elementary & secondary school students for adequate winter clothing. As mothers there was no hesitation from us about this issue. Children deserve warmth & safety during the winter months. Pikangikum is an extremely remote fly-in First Nation community in northern Ontario where it's not always simple knowing where your winter clothing is going to come from. With only one "general store" in the fly-in community, if a zipper breaks; often a child has to go without a functioning coat for the rest of the winter. Winter can last until May.
We feel this need brings light to the issue of accessibility in northern remote regions in Canada. While Canada was recently ranked #1 in the world for quality of life by US News & World Report, that statistic needs to be reexamined with respect to the priority of Indigenous communities. The metrics used in that study were nearly all regional factors, and were metrics where Indigenous peoples in Canada are seeing severe deficiencies not based on capability; but based on race. Metrics in the study were:
- A good job market
- Economic stability
- Family friendly
- Income equality
- Politically stable
- Well-developed public health system
- Well-developed public education system
Indigenous communities pre-contact had all the resources available to them to create comfort and quality of life. The history afterwards is pretty straightforward; they are forcibly removed from their traditional lands to jail cells more commonly called "reserves", have their children taken away over 125 years and placed into residential schools where they lost their cultural & land-based educations (as well as languages, medicinal knowledge and healthy family & community structures), and today children continue to be removed into foster care at rates that would shock Canadians if it was any country except this one. Why is it difficult for a First Nation community to regain its sovereignty and capacity to care for its own people? Well under these circumstances, the only surprise there should be is the thriving survival of the ways of life that do remain.
Donating snowsuits made a headline; it was just a basic reaction that anyone should have to the needs of children. We thank the CBC for affording us the opportunity to shed some light on what it means to live with severe accessibility issues because of the race of your ancestors in Canada today.
To check out the CBC article, click here!