I am a young woman that has grown up on the Six Nations reserve, and I am reaching out in concern of the state our community is in. I have become increasingly more concerned for the well-being and safety for myself, my family, friends and especially the younger generations growing up.
These past few years I have had young friends and acquaintances pass away from various tragedies. I think everyone in this community has experienced some kind of tragedy. Many of these tragedies I believe are preventable.
Gun violence and drug abuse have become rampant and it feels like nothing is being done. Our community is caught in a chokehold of fear and violence and it saddens me to see news of the constant deaths that seem to occur. It feels like every day I wake up and see more depressing news of our people committing harm and crime towards each other.
My family experienced a break in a few years ago and this event affects us all still. There are nights when I have trouble falling asleep, afraid of the noises outside my home, wondering what or who could be out there. This fear is constantly in the back of our minds. No person should have to live in fear in their own community, let alone their own homes.
As a young indigenous woman I am very well aware of the high rates of violence against women that look like me, which makes me live my life with that anxiety in the back of my mind. Whenever I see another woman experiencing violence I can’t help but be afraid for my own life. The recent attack of Autumn Martin has shaken my spirit and the lack of justice and leadership response has saddened me deeply. Knowing that such a heinous crime could be committed in my community disappoints me and has spread doubt and loneliness amongst women. It has manifested fear and doubt within me.
I do not believe the individuals responsible should be walking freely within our community. This sends a message to others that this type of behaviour is acceptable and that they are able to get away with such crimes. Autumn and every woman deserves to feel safe and supported within the community.
In our culture we are taught that women are life givers and are sacred. But how are we to believe that when there is constant news of the community letting our women down? How are we supposed to teach the young Haudenosaunee boys and girls that violence is not our way when we are showing them they can get away with it?
Our community is sick and more must be done to improve it. I am calling upon the people who are supposed to be in charge to stand up against this violence. I call upon you to create change and lead our people into a better life. Take our teachings and make them a part of our day-to-day lives. Please end the violence and sickness in our home and create safety for the new generations.