Thursday was a day to celebrate the achievements of women, all while continuing to Press for Progress.
International Women’s Day was celebrated in Belleville by a march through the downtown.
While for the most part the march was met by cheers and supportive honks from drivers, there were a few shouts of discouragement as the crowd passed by.
Leah Morgan says it happens but shrugged it off as one blip on an otherwise very positive march.
The march was followed by a presentation by Dr. Cyndy Baskin at the Belleville Public Library.
Baskin spoke about how colonization shattered the identities of the Indigenous People through the Indian Act, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action in terms of violence towards Indigenous women.
She says it’s critical to have these tough conversations.
She says people will think what they want to think based on racist beliefs taught over time, stereotypes, misconceptions and misunderstandings.
The way to combat that, she says is education.
She says Canada is seen as a nation that is welcoming to everyone, and a peacekeeping nation, but we’ve forgotten what Canada is responsible for when it comes to destroying the Indigenous culture and that is something hidden away.
Baskin touched on the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Children Inquest as well.
She said it’s incredible 4,000 women and children are missing or have been murdered and it’s now a topic of discussion.
Baskin says that would never happen to white women and referenced the Bruce McArthur case currently underway in Toronto.
It’s also something that hits close to home for Baskin as she told the audience her own daughter is one of those women in the 4,000 that were murdered, as she was taken in May 2013.
The next steps going forward Baskin says is trying to restore the way life used to be in the Indigenous culture where women did play a prominent role.
She told the audience some of the most successful Indigenous communities are the ones that are left to self-govern. She talked about a community in Kamloops, British Columbia that has its own village in the city and they run a very successful vineyard.
Karen Fisk of Belleville’s International Women’s Day Committee said this year was another success and she is thrilled by the response they got.
International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8.