What's a Non-Indigenous Woman To Do? Some ideas about how to be an Ally

  • March 05, 2019
  • Signa Daum Shanks

So, uh, are you one of those people who say ‘it’s so horrible but I don’t know what to do?’

And then, uh, you don’t do too much. Because you’re scared/frozen/actually indifferent.

Is that you?

Maybe you won’t ever say it’s you. But here’s where I become a little brave/audacious/in your face: if in 2018 you did the same amount of learning about Indigenous matters in Canada as you did in 2017, you aren’t working hard enough at being an ally. 2018 feminism ain’t what was happenin’ in 2017. Neither are the issues involved in the vitally important Black Lives Matter movement. If you want others to respect your claim that you are ‘wellrounded’/progressive/ anti-racist, you gotta do some lifting. Forever and always. The same as 2017 isn’t just neutral; it’s a step backwards. Maybe only one step. But let’s stop you in your tracks, talk about turning around, and then think of ways that you can do that proverbial ‘moving forward’.

I don’t write  about this because I want to be friends with you – though that would be a wonderful bonus! I am getting on your case about Indigenous issues because you, as a person who has the privilege of being socially respected as a lawyer, trained in the areas of logic and justice and (almost) always makes lots more money than our neighbours. You might not want to ‘do more’, but here’s my take: you need to. In order for your legal practice to be as sound as it can be, and so that you can really be that Ms. Progressive on the Block, you can’t be stopped in your tracks about Indigenous issues anymore.