"A man's spiritual progress is hindered as long as the women in his life - his mother, his wife his daughter, his sister are unhappy. Whereas, a woman's spiritual progress is never complete unless and until she recognizes and accepts her Shalini Shakti - the power to create, to innervate, to thrill - a power which only a women has, not a man."
Swami Veda Bharati


This place called Toronto is historically lived on and taken care of by Indigenous people of three nations: the Wendat People, the Mississaugas of the New Credit and the Haudenosaunee. If you are not from the Indigenous community you are an immigrant on their sacred land. Irrespective of race, class, gender and any political identity we are all benefitting from the ongoing colonization of Canada. Also there are added accruals of unearned benefits for human beings with White privilege. To create healthy, safe, and just communities it is a moral imperative for all immigrants to work collaboratively with (a) peace, (b) respect and (c) friendship. This is in accordance with TWO ROW WAMPUM agreement between the original newly arrived European settlers and Indigenous Peoples over 150 years ago. Unfortunately the treaties were never respected, and Indigenous Women and men were barbarically colonized: exploited, murdered, rape of their land and bodies. Over 4000 Indigenous Women have been murdered and missing and sexual violence remains endemic. The intergenerational trauma suffered by Indigenous Peoples: Women and men are unthinkable and immeasurable. Pandemic suicides amongst Indigenous youth, lack of social health determinants are exacerbating an epidemic of substance use, opioid deaths, and mental health issues. Power and Control of Indigenous Women's bodies were and remains a tool of heinous domination and slavery. In 2017 racism and sexism are often used to condition and legitimize colonization. There is pervasive sexual violence within systemic institutions under continuation of a dominant Eurocentric -Anglo Saxon lens.

If you are an Immigrant Woman, Trans woman, Girl child from a Third World country, racialized, marginalized it is of utmost importance to seek empowerment through knowledge, wisdom and education about your status -ethnic identity/race/gender-positioning in Canada. Although immigrant women have expertise in many areas of employment, they frequently end up working as cheap labour because of stereotypical attitudes, ethnocentrism, and a tendency to view immigrant women's ethnic and cultural differences as problems (Naidoo, 1988) Some women deal with not only a generation gap but also acculturation gap as far as parenting their children. In case of lack of language proficiency many immigrant women find themselves isolated, discriminated and victims of implicit racist bias while looking for employment, in finding allocation of credit for foreign experience and evaluation of academic credentials for fair sustainability. Immigrant women become dependent on their husbands. Any dependant relationship carries the danger of abuse, and the immigrant husband -wife relationship is no different (Canadian Task Force, 1988) In case of marital violence or breakdown there are less alternatives of finding culturally competent and sensitive support for alternative housing, and legal alternatives.

Where do you stand when it comes to paradigms of inclusion, equity, diversity framework within multicultural Canada? How will you cope and overcome the barriers of language, shame, secrecy, silencing due to ostracization within familial units and cultural community, child -care, housing, disability, poverty, ageing, health issues, mental issues, addictions, and dual diagnosis? Who are your allies in Canada in times of adversity that you can turn to when faced with gender violence? How will you support and sustain yourself away from your native country? In general, over the past two decades poverty rates have been rising among immigrants and falling among the Canadian born. This goes hand in hand with the steep decline in the relative earnings of immigrants over the time period. The decline occurred even though education levels were rising among immigrants. Racialized women remain one of the most disadvantaged groups working in the precarious consumer sector without benefits and at low wages. One study estimated that by the late 1990s, 41% of chronically poor immigrants had degrees. There is increased racism and islamophobia in Canada. CSIS (Canada's CIA), noted in May 2013, that the largest threat to domestic safety in Canada is the rise of White supremacist, anti-immigrant groups.

'A study with young women of colour in Toronto found that one in five experienced racism in the health care system included cultural insensitivity, racial slurs, and poor quality care.' How and where will you seek Medical assistance in case of domestic violence, separation, divorce and sexual assault in Canada?

How will you access support systems without economic privilege against the backdrop of historical cultural patriarchal backlash-'always women's fault'/ 'ideals of honor'- constructs- colonization at home, and outside- living on the colonized land?

How will you access services essential for safety planning after reporting a perpetrator in face of barriers?


Aboriginal women are 'among the most severely disadvantaged of all groups in Canadian society'. (Statistics Canada's (2001b) report, Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.

Eight out of ten Aboriginal women had experienced violence, many of them as young children. (Ontario Native Women's Association (1989)

Over 4000 Indigenous women and girls have been murdered or are missing in Canada-a Human Rights crisis that requires a national inquiry according to the United Nations.

According to multiple reports, the police do not trust Indigenous women when they reach out for support and often assault and abuse them.

Indigenous women are even more represented than Indigenous men in the federal correctional system, representing 33.6% of all federally sentenced women in Canada.

The overall number of Indigenous women behind bars in federal institutions nearly doubles between 2002 and 2012, rising 97 percent.

Indigenous prisoners tend to be younger than their counterparts. In 2013, 21.3% of all federally incarcerated Aboriginal prisoners were 25 year of age as compared to 13.6% of non-Aboriginals.

While Indigenous people make up about 4% of the Canadian population, as of February 2013, 23.2% of the federal inmate population is Indigenous (First Nation, Metis or Inuit)

In 2010-11, Canada's overall incarceration rate was 140 per 100,000 adults. The incarceration rate for Indigenous adults is estimated to be 10 times higher than the incarceration rate for non-Indigenous adults.

Indigenous Women head 86 percent of all lone - parent families.

The rate of violent crime against women in Nunavut was nearly 13 times higher than the rate for Canada.

Aboriginal women (First nations, Inuit & Metis) are more than eight times more likely to be killed by their intimate partner than non-Aboriginal women. Aboriginal women are 3.5 times more likely to be victims of violence compared to non-Aboriginal women.

Even in situations that may be serious or even life-threatening, women resist having to see a health-care provider." The investigators said they were told that "because of the inherent racism experienced by aboriginal people in many health-care settings" (https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2017/07/30/saskatchewan-sterilizations-shame-the-nation-editorial.html)

In 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission called the Residential School system a cultural genocide. The trauma of residential school survivors was passed on their children and grandchildren and continues to date.

Today more Indigenous children are being taken away from their parents than at the height of the Residential School era according to Amnesty International. Today, every Indigenous child gets 22% less funding for education and other services than non-Indigenous in the country.

Many acts of violence were perpetuated against Indigenous communities in the past that you can see compiled here: http://www.riic.ca/resources/

Today, Indigenous people are more likely to be deprived of resources, more likely to be taken away from their parents, more likely to be hurt, and more likely to be imprisoned-all of which, put together, is a modern form of ongoing colonial violence. The majority of Canada's economy today is based on resource extraction-logging, oil sands, mining, hydroelectric power, etc. - which are predominantly in Indigenous territories. These large projects have mostly been developed without the consent of the people living on the land.

It is critical for every Immigrant to understand that Indigenous nations are considered an equal partner to the government of Canada. That is, Indigenous nations are not supposed to be subordinate to the Canadian governments either under Canadian law or Indigenous laws. Most of the agreements that were initially signed between Indigenous nations and Canadian laws were land sharing agreements. This means that Canada is allowed to take from the land but does not own it. These agreements continue to apply today-and it is essential that immigrants in Canada become aware of these agreements and work to follow them. However, from pipelines being put into indigenous territories, to mining pits being forced on to Indigenous territories - there are multiple conflicts taking place where the government has not received free prior and informed consent from Indigenous traditional governments.

Please see the partial summary of some of these conflicts at:

1. http://www.casselsbrock.com/CBNewsletter/Update_on_Indigenous_Conflicts_Across_Canada

2. http://www.defendersoftheland.org/

This resource extraction allows for electricity to be generated, basic food products to be subsidized and allows the social welfare system to function. Thus all of us living in Canada are directly benefitting from the ongoing colonization of Canada. This is a difficult concept, especially for new immigrants, who are often facing dire odds of finding employment, working on low wages, in sub-standard housing; dislocated, living in a foreign country with innumerable barriers after going through a very difficult time to get here. To say that immigrants are benefiting from colonization does not mean that immigrants are privileged in other ways. Thus it is important to work alongside Indigenous people struggling for self-determination, as we strive for more justice for immigrants. [Some Information provided by Migrant Workers Alliance for Change]

Take a pledge to Support Indigenous Women and communities:

As you read this article please take the time to think about the lives of Indigenous Women that continue to face the above barriers while living on their scared native land 150 years later. Reminder sexual violence is a tool of barbaric power and control and it is permeated as rape culture each time we are a neutral bystander or wilfully blind at home, in office and through systemic institutions. Contemporary rape culture is infused with scapegoating, victim-blaming and dehumanization of survivors to justify or excuse sexual assault and other forms of gender violence. Doctor's offices and hospitals that are expected to adhere to ethical sacred 'fiduciary -trust' are also unsafe lairs for Indigenous women and racialized, marginalized women, trans women as 200,000 PLUS have been sexually violated and it continues under power, privilege Anglo Saxon lens -self-regulation by historically corrupt CPSO in 2017. Atrocities continue against Indigenous women given the institutionalized hierarchy of power vests with White privileged cisgender patriarchy in Canada. Anglo-Saxon based customs, food, dress, and life style are apparently the only basis for acceptance (Naidoo, 1980). Not much seems to have evolved within the systemic institutions: Police, Medical and Judiciary still entrenched in colonial Anglo -Saxon lens and rapid increase in racism and islamophobia in 2017.

DO NOT BE A SILENT BYSTANDER when you witness racist, sexiest dehumanization of an Indigenous Woman, Trans woman through 'society of normalization'-colonizer's vocabulary- 'rapable', 'dirty', 'abnormals', 'degenerates', 'savages'. There is no honor in keeping silent about violence. Put a STOP to continuation of historical intergenerational trauma faced by Indigenous Women and children. Let us join hands in divine prayer, become conscious citizens of this sacred land; learn the sacred circle of healing and practice cultural protocols, utilize cultural resources (smudge, sweet grass, eagle feather) and also understand Indigenous People's religious denominations. Learn more and accept the First Nations person is a way of life and assimilate its sacredness and holiness. As immigrants let's share our knowledge with each other, collaborate and champion for Indigenous Rights to their land. "Dysfunctional systems are often maintained through systematic denial, a failure or in ability to see to reality of a situation. This denial need not be conscious, intentional, or malicious; it only needs to be pervasive to be effective." (Karen Warren) 150 years later, let there be change-an end to colonized ways of being, thinking and doing. Let us begin a journey of genuine respect, compassionate, empathic inquiry, thought, intent and ACTION towards Reconciliation of our hearts and souls- to hold and heal our Indigenous mothers, sisters and daughters. We must take responsibility for the present to begin changing the past. Lobby for increased funding social awareness, education, legal and political will to prevent continued victimization of Indigenous women. Let us become advocates for Indigenous Women's Right to prosperity: safety, security and stability. When one member is unwell -it affects the whole family. We are one as Mother Earth's sacred family. May this rich, abundant, and sacred land flourish and be the best country in the world. 'The world has never yet seen a truly great and victorious nation because in the degradation of woman the very foundations of life are poisoned at their source.' (Lucretia Mott)


Sveta Kohli 'Azad'

When Creator called for the universal energies to come together in that sound, that vibration, what came forward were the universal energies to create Mother Earth. Womanspirit is more than Mother Earth. It is those universal energies that come together. The manifestation of the physical form of her behaviour is woman. We emulate that she teaches the universe must be. So it isn't just Mother Earth. It is how we are connected.
- Myra Laramee, Cree/Metis teacher on 'womanspirit' as the 'first truth'