Panel Discussion, Cegep du Vieux Montreal, Feb. 11 Photos

With guest speakers Jessica Yee, Janie Jamieson, and Rachel Alouki-Labbe.

As an accompanying event to Montreal’s first Annual Memorial March for Murdered and Missing Women, slated to happen this Sunday, February 14th, Missing justice organized a bilingual panel discussion on February 11th at the Cegep de Vieux Montreal, to discuss numerous issues connected to the larger problem of violence against Indigenous women.

Janie Jamieson, a Mohawk woman and land rights activist from Six Nations, Ontario, spoke courageously, for the first time in public, about her experiences losing her aunt Cynthia Jamieson, who was kidnapped, brutally raped and murdered. She also spoke about the resultant lack of media prioritization relative to another non-Native woman who was killed around the same time as her aunt. She criticized the Canadian media, calling them an appendage of the state, as CTV, who, happily, attended the event, filmed her closely. Jessica Yee later ‘joked’ that they better include what Janie said in their coverage of the event. Janie also talked about links between the struggles of Indigenous peoples in both North and South America, the oppressed relationship to the Crown that they share, and the consequent land rights fights and high levels of violence against women across the board as well.

Rachel Alouki-Labbe, an Abenaki woman and documentary filmmaker, showed a short clip from her film Desert de Croix, about the appalling femicide that is currently rocking Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and quoted Mexico’s ambassador to Canada’s infamous chauvinist comment, which blames the women themselves for the violence, because of the short skirts that they wear. She spoke of people finding women’s bones on the outskirts of town. Alouki-Labbe went further to compare the situation in Quebec to that of Juarez.

Jessica Yee is a self-described Indigenous feminist reproductive justice freedom fighter.  24 years old and Two-Spirited from the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation, Jessica is the founder and Executive Director of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network, a CanAmerica wide organization by youth and for youth. She spoke with passion and humour about the importance of culturally appropriate sex education for Native youth and the role it can play in preventing violence in native communities. “And I’m not talking about the STI fact sheet with the feather or the medicine wheel on it,” she said.