To Supplement Dr. Christina Sharpe’s essay, Black Life, Annotated, TNI asked Sharpe to create a syllabus for further reading on the subject and she graciously obliged, with help from Mariame Kaba and Dr. Tamara Nopper.
“Some people meet the way the sky meets the earth, inevitably, and there is no stopping or holding back their love. It exists in a finished world, beyond the reach of common sense.”—Louise Erdrich, Tales of Burning Love (via little-terrible-one)
all men are responsible. all men are necessary to dismantle sexism. all men have to check their thoughts and behaviors. all men should enter male spaces and speak up for the rights of women when their peers do not. ALL men. do not give me this “not all men” bullshit because if you are silent and only care about your feelings instead of fighting for women then you /are/ one of those men. saying “not all men” lets men think that they arent involved with the issue when they are
Aboriginal women 15 years and older are 3.5 times more likely to experience violence than non-Aboriginal women.
Rates of spousal assault against Aboriginal women are more than three times higher than those against non-Aboriginal women.
Nearly one-quarter of Aboriginal women experienced some form of spousal violence in the five years preceding the 2004 GSS.
54% of Aboriginal women reported severe forms of family violence, such as being beaten, being choked, having had a gun or knife used against them, or being sexually assaulted, versus 37% of non-Aboriginal women
44% of Aboriginal women reported “fearing for their lives” when faced with severe forms of family violence, compared with 33% of non-Aboriginal women.
27% of Aboriginal women reported experiencing 10 or more assaults by the same offender, as opposed to 18% of non-Aboriginal women.
While the number of non-Aboriginal women reporting the most severe forms of violence declined from 43% in 1999 to 37% in 2004, the number of similar attacks against Aboriginal women remained unchanged at 54% during the same time period.
Between 1997 and 2000, homicide rates of Aboriginal females were almost seven times higher than those of non-Aboriginal females.
Between 1991 and 2004, 171 women involved in prostitution were killed in Canada; 45% of these homicides remain unsolved
Aboriginal women between the ages of 25 and 44 with Indian status are five times more likely than other women of the same age to die as the result of violence.
Homicides involving Aboriginal women are more likely to go unsolved. Only 53% of murder cases in NWAC’s Sisters In Spirit database have been solved, compared to 84% of all murder cases across the country.
Six out of 10 incidents of violent crime against Aboriginal people are thought to go unreported.
this article was written by one of Loretta’s professors (who was her honors thesis mentor and helping with her work on missing & murdered indigenous women), while she was missing (ie before they found her remains); the letter is very moving and it’s heartbreaking to know that the movement to end violence against indigenous women has lost such a promising, passionate, intelligent, and beautiful bright light of a person. prayers to her family and communities (including her own indigenous Inuk community, Nunatsiavut) at this time of mourning.
The last time I met with Loretta Saunders, two weeks ago, I had never felt more inspired and proud of a student. She had sent me her thesis proposal the week before, and at nearly 11,000 words (28 pages), it was 3 times what the department expected of honours student proposals. Beyond its remarkable length, Loretta carefully presented her research in what I recognized as the most beautifully written and cared-for assignment I had ever read in seven years of university teaching, evaluating literally thousands of assignments. I was so buoyed by her rigorous writing and research that I sent her a message telling her so. Here’s an excerpt from my email, dated February 1st:
“Your thesis proposal is absolutely amazing. It’s a thing of beauty. Your writing is mostly perfect; you’re developing your own narrative voice due to your remarkable attention to detail. But more importantly than the great spelling, grammar and referencing, you have a voice, you write in a style that is all your own, and it flows wonderfully.
If you ever have any doubts that you can succeed in academia, save this email and read it over. You have the writing, researching and analytical skills of somebody who is on their way to receive a PhD. You can accomplish whatever you like academically [my note –these two sentences were all in CAPS].
Our world needs more people like you Loretta; please keep reading and writing about whatever you’re most passionate about. I will do everything I can to support your efforts to become the intellectual and community leader you are meant to be.”
…Loretta’s research broaches a topic that is largely taboo in Canadian society: the heartbreaking phenomenon of missing and murdered indigenous women. In particular, Loretta aims to understand the disappearance and/or death of three indigenous women in Nova Scotia. Over the past three months, as her decision to tackle this difficult issue crystalized, she had received guidance from several Mi’kmaq women, all important spiritual and community leaders impacted by and concerned with the disproportionate violence that indigenous women and girls continue to experience in Nova Scotia and in Canada.
In an act of courage that still moves me deeply, Loretta refused to turn away from the traumatic nature of this violence; she chose instead to invest all of her energy in a healing journey that would benefit indigenous youth in her home territory and in indigenous communities and territories wherever they encountered her. It was both a deeply personal journey, and one filled with intellectual curiosity. Above all, during our last meeting, Loretta articulated her firm commitment to share her work and experiences with an open, genuine, and loving heart.
Once we ended the more prescriptive segment of our meeting, I finally looked Loretta in the eye and expressed out loud what I had previously written in an email. I stammered in a way a bit foreign to me, since I’m not in the habit of expressing such awe and gratitude to my students. Despite my awkwardness, a tear welled up in her eyes, as it did in mine. We both looked down, away from each other. A thought kept circulating in my mind: “How does Loretta do it?”
…She can express her passion and belief in justice for indigenous women in ways that are utterly arresting, given her own will to live and thrive in a world that, it seems, does way too much to deny her the very possibilities that so much of us take for granted. Until the day arrives for our next meeting, my door remains open, and my commitment to Loretta, her family, and the struggles of indigenous women throughout Turtle Island has intensified.