I was talking with a friend about feminism the other day. It seemed when I had recently doing a google search for female protesters, I found what I wasn’t looking for. See, what I was looking for were strong women, fist in air, fighting for their rights. I was specifically looking for Indigenous women. What came up were pictures of women alright, but the Native American women on google image search were the cheesy white women dressed in skimpy torn up fake leather outfits with a wig of braids and a feather in the head. The pictures of protesters that came up were the women who were topless and writing all over their body.
Now, I like to think I am a modern woman, even though I was raised somewhat traditionally, but I really do not see what point they are trying to prove. How are they making a difference by literally having their goods out in the open like that? I gave up my search for a female protester and went on writing. I talked to a friend about feminism, because if that was feminism, if that made them feel empowered, then I wasn’t raised the way they were.
I guess, I never really had to search for feminism and I know the word scares people off, but feminism is nothing our women had to fight for. We knew our strength. Even if we went through abuse in the past, we survived it. We knew we could get through it for the sake of our children and the sake of our spirits. I pray for women who may be going through any kind of abuse and want you to know, you are stronger than you think.
The kind of strength we have comes from our grandmothers. There is not one Lakota person who could not be silenced by a certain look from their grandmother. The Lakota grandmother walks into a room and commands respect as the room falls silent. On the Diane Sawyer 20/20 episode about the reservation, one of the little girls says when she grows up, she wants to be a grandma. The fact that a little girl wants to be a grandmother when she grows up, shows you how well respected our grandmothers are.
Our grandmothers are the reason we are here, they built empires and it is important for us to know their history so we have a legacy to follow. They are the keepers of the fire in the homes, they carry our culture. We are a matriarchal society and everything revolves around our nation builders, in our women we find balance.
As my mom said, “We (Lakota women) don’t have a choice but to be strong, we just are.” Our empowerment comes from a long line of strong women in our families. While some other people in other cultures do not bother to know their family history, to think they even have a legacy to follow, we know this is our role. We know our tipis do not have glass ceilings, just an opening to the sky and beyond.