Benefit concert draws big crowd

SIX NATIONS: As the night went on, Yogi’s Barn saw more and more community members come out in support of the warriors in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, led by Shawn Brant, who blocked a portion of Shannonville Road in response to the federal government’s lack of concern for the growing numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls across Canada. Thursday night’s concert was the brainchild of local musician and Juno Award winner Derek Miller, who, with his usual energy and quick thinking was able to throw a last minute concert together including acts from such artists as Matthew Jesus Miller, Jeff Doreen, who sang the song “Blackbird” by The Beatles in the Mohawk language, Tru Rez Crew, Kontihenti Women’s Singing Society, Crystal McDonald, Kaseniio Wilson, Henry Booka, Derek Miller, Ghost Town Orchestra and two drum groups.

Val King, Anishinabe local activist for missing and murdered Indigenous women, told the crowd how important it is for her to raise awareness on violence against women. “I’m a mother of six beautiful girls,” said King, “and it’s a shame that I have to tell my daughters whenever they go somewhere to be safe and never go anywhere alone. Out of all of Canada, we (Native people) are the only ones who have to say that to our daughters: to be careful when going anywhere.”

Community member Aileen Joseph courageously told the crowd of her daughter Shelley who was murdered in Hamilton in 2004. In what one person called a ‘very powerful speech,’ Joseph spoke of her daughter’s last day and how she wished she had gone to pick her up at the home she shared with her abusive boyfriend. Shelley was murdered later that night. Aileen has spent the past few years raising awareness locally of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

The concert, an alcohol-free event, saw a large crowd of Ongwehoweh people of all ages, including children and Elders. After the concert, Derek Miller told Two Row Times that $1,800 dollars was raised including donations such as food, blankets, drinks, and even a deer.

Now that the blockades are down in Tyendinaga, Brant will be making a special trip to Six Nations next week to pick up donations and meet the people who made this all possible.

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