Indigenous Women are Cornerstones of Our Communities

Dear Cultural Survival Community,

I am proud to present our Spring issue of the Cultural Survival Quarterly dedicated to uplifting the voices, experiences, and diverse identities of Indigenous women. We bring you stories that highlight only a glimpse of the multitude of roles Indigenous women play in strengthening and building our communities. These are true accounts of perseverance, strength, resilience, love, and care for children, families, communities, and Mother Earth. This issue is dedicated to us, Indigenous women, who hold numerous roles and responsibilities. We are sisters, mothers, aunties, grandmothers, friends, leaders, doctors, healers, lawyers, teachers, chefs, land and water protectors.... We are the powerhouses of our movements, the backbones of our communities, and the nurturing hearts for our families.
 

Indigenous women find themselves at a disadvantage against challenges throughout their lives. Indigenous women face discrimination because of their ethnic origin; gender; economic, political, societal status or class; disability; and location. This compound effect puts many of us at the edges of survival. My grandmother was one of these Indigenous women, who worked hard to keep our family and community healthy. She completed only three grades of schooling and suffered from a life-long disability lacking access to health care. She lived in a remote village solely relying on the forest and her own husbandry. Yet, she survived and thrived, lived a full and fulfilling life, and ensured her descendants were nourished and supported.
 

Many other Indigenous women too, live and thrive under challenging circumstances. In this issue, you will meet some of these incredible women. The powerful stories of Christa Mancias (Esto’k Gna), Jannie Staffansson (Saami), Gertrude Kenyangi (Batwa), Tatyana Vassilievna Kobezhikova (Khakas), Andrea Landry (Anishinaabe), Lindsey Balidoy (Bad River Ojibwe/Tiwa Pueblo), Corinne Rice-Grey Cloud (Mohawk/Lakota), Maricela Zurita Cruz (ChatNya), Ipiak Slendy Montanhuano Ushigua (Sapara), Micaela Icó Bautista (Tzotzil), and Eva Vasquez Clemente are  testaments to the power of Indigenous women’s resilience, bravery, and sacrifice.
 

We at Cultural Survival are working diligently to bring the issues of discrimination against Indigenous women to light through our work to hold States, corporations, civil society and others accountable so that our Indigenous women, men, and LGBTQIA+ relatives can exercise and assert their rights. We are also working to uplift Indigenous women in a way that does not disrupt gender balance and is according to Indigenous values and protocols self-determined by Indigenous communities. For many years, Cultural Survival has prioritized projects centering women and engaging women’s and girls’ leadership. Our staff and board have been working collaboratively to draft a gender balance policy to ensure balance and equity within our organization, and we will share this policy with the public once it is ready. Cultural Survival is committed to restoring this balance and supporting the work of healing in its many manifestations, including gendered ways. We invite you to join us on this journey to create a more just world and to support Indigenous women’s leadership to guide the way.
 

In Solidarity and Gratitude,

Galina Angarova (Buryat)
Executive Director

 

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