The stories and legends handed down from the Nootka women of Vancouver Island are more poignant, more relevant than ever. Listening, learning, doing and engaging in serious resistance as women of strength may make a difference to the destruction of earth. There is a lot of work to be done.
The Warrior Women
“In the time before the strangers came, women were fighters same as men, and got the same trainin’. Not all members of the women’s warrior society were members of the secret society of women, but all the members of the warrior society. A woman warrior recognized the face of the enemy and was prepared to do whatever was necessary to defeat it.”
“Sometimes the women warriors would meet without the men, to sit in a circle and talk women talk, and if a woman had somethin’ botherin’ her, or puzzlin’ her, or scarin’ her, or makin’ her feel uneasy, she’d say what it was. She could take all the time she needed to talk about it, but it was expected she’d put some of her own time into findin’ the words and not talk in circles, endlessly, takin’ up everyone else’s time.”
“Then the other women in the circle who had maybe had somethin’ the same happen in their lives would talk about it, and what they’d done, or hadn’t done, or should have done, and sometimes out of it would come an answer for the sister with the problems. And even if not, sometimes, it was enough to just have been heard and given love”.
“It was expected that besides just talkin’ about what was botherin’ you, you’d do something about it. Usually it’s better to do almost anythin’ than let things continue if they’re botherin’ you. But sometimes the best thing you can do is nothin’. Sometimes you have to wait for the right Time before you can do”.
“A woman would come to the circle as often as she needed, but the circle wasn’t there to encourage a woman only to talk about her problems. The first three times you came with the same story, the woman would listen and try to help. But if you showed up a fourth time, and it was the same old tired thing, the others in the circle would just get up and move and re-form the circle somewhere else. They didn’t say the problem wasn’t important, they just said, by movin’, that it was your problem and it was time you did somethin’ about it, you’d taken up all the time in other people’s lives as was goin’ to be given to you, and it was time to stop talkin’ and do somethin’.
A woman might not know what was botherin’ her. And it was fine to go to the circle, or even to ask to have one formed, and just sit with women, and listen and maybe get strength from smiles and cuddles and just bein’ with women you knew loved you”.
“A warrior woman had to be able to recognize the face of the enemy or she couldn’t be a warrior woman. [. . .] A person who couldn’t control her bad moods or temper would lose her headband until she learned control because ragin’ around at nothin’ is wastin’ energy needed against the enemy.”
The Face Of Old Woman.
“We must reach out to our sisters, all of our sisters, and ask them to share their truth with us, offer to share our truth with them. And we can only trust that this gift, from woman to woman, be treated with love and respect, in a way opposite from the way the evil treated the other things this island had. Rivers are filthy that used to be clean. Mountains are naked that used to be covered with trees.
The ocean is fighting for her life and there are no fish where there used to be millions, and this is the work of cold evil. The last treasure we have, the secrets of the matriarchy, can be shared and honoured by women, and be proof there is another way, a better way, and some of us remember it.”
With gratitude to Anne Cameron for her work.