A local young woman from the Blood Tribe recently travelled to Ottawa to sit in the House of Commons as an invited guest on behalf of an initiative called Daughters of the Vote.
During the first week of March, Tiana Weasel Moccasin was chosen by an organization called Equal Voice which is focused on electing more women to all levels of political office in Canada.
This gave her the chance to represent her riding – the Blood Tribe and speak about issues close to her heart, also 338 other women from every riding in Canada made the trip.
Although the world she came from wasn’t always so open to hearing what she had to say.ADVERTISEMENT
“I kind of felt like my voice wasn’t important, because I always got shut down or ignored if I ever tried to speak up about our rights and the only time I ever did was when we did a dance demonstration for people and they wanted to learn,” said Weasel Moccasin.
She is active in the Sundance and representing the Blood Tribe she was a natural as a Miss Blackfoot Canada Alumni and a pow wow dancer, she also graduated from Kainai High School.
The women were able to voice what they wanted their vision to be for Canada, it was historical on a national level and coincided with International Women’s Day on March 8.
The issues she wrote about in her application to Equal Voice that got her noticed were issues the Blood Tribe are facing such as the fentanyl drug crisis.
The battle is so severe that the tribe is enacting a trespass bylaw to try to limit the access of drug dealers and suppliers to the reserve, a bylaw that has been met with great misunderstanding.
Another issue Weasel Moccasin wrote about was the lack of education regarding aboriginal people, even saying that one of her former teachers told her classmates that natives should have been slaves.
That was enough to spark the fire in her heart to speak up for herself and about another issue, the dark reality of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Canada.
While in Ottawa, Weasel Moccasin was able to sit in on an Indigenous forum and meet with Indigenous women MP’s and First Nations Assembly members, who answered their questions and gave them words of encouragement.
This wasn’t her first time brushing shoulders with Canadian Leaders, Weasel Moccasin met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when he visited the Blood Tribe in October 2016.
In Ottawa she had the chance to see what Trudeau had to say when confronted by one of the Indigenous Daughters of the Vote, who asked him about his stance on aboriginal issues.
“I felt like that he kind of reassured us that they are working on it, these kind of issues we have don’t just get solved overnight but they are working towards true reconciliation I guess,” says Weasel Moccasin.
She has been so inspired by this opportunity that she now wants to get involved in the justice system and helping First Nations, by continuing her education at the University of Lethbridge and beyond.
“Don’t ever let anyone ever make you feel like you’re not worthy, don’t ever let a man make you feel like you can’t do anything, because you can…. Just push yourself and you can do whatever you want, whatever you desire,” says Weasel Moccasins in words of encouragement to women.