Women warrior song and Highway of Tears

Hey all!

A bit of history

So far my posts have been about the Native culture, practices and beliefs and today I want to switch gears for a bit. As with the Native culture, also comes trauma. Actually years and years of trauma. There will soon be a section specifically about historical trauma but I thought I would introduce the notion here. Historical trauma or intergenerational trauma is trauma that is passed down from one generation to the other. Our behaviors are learned, as children we learn to behave a certain way. To copy someone, to protect ourselves, to survive. Violence, substance abuse and mental health issues have a higher prevalence in the Native people. Violent ways or substance abuse issues are passed down from great grand-parents, to grand-parents, to parents to children who keep it going with their children. Remember the saying about what we do affects the next seven generations? Well this is what I mean. In order to survive, those unhealthy patterns are repeated.

The effects of events such as the introduction of alcohol by the white man, the loss of the lands, the residential schools system and the welfare scoop of the 1960’s, to name a few, still have a major effect on the Native people. Who are trying to sift through the trauma they themselves went through as well as their ancestors. Some ceremonies have a healing purpose, such as the healing circle. Some stories, some of us would not believe  are true. But they are, they are. Such violence and such pain. But the traditional native way of healing, called the Red Road or the Red Path, offers a way of life that is healing. And it is much needed within that culture to break the cycle so that they and the next generations can be healthy. 

smudging prayer

Missing women and warrior song

In Canada, of the women who go missing or are murdered each year, 80% are Aboriginal. Some were without families to miss them or report them missing. In British Columbia (BC), many of those women have disappeared on what is now referred to as the Highway of Tears, a stretch of highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert. The murders of those women, committed between 1969 and 2011, are often referred to as the Highway of Tears murders and still constitute an open investigation. The Native world, as wide as it can be, is also a small world. And chances are that if you talk to a Native person in BC, they will have known in one way or another, one of those women from the Highway of Tears. For more information, you can visit:

http://www.highwayoftears.ca/

The Women’s warrior song below, is a song in honour of those missing women across Canada (notice the eagle circling above them). I first heard it at a pow wow a few years ago. At the time, I did not know what the song or its meaning was. Nonetheless, I had a strong reaction to it. I suddenly felt ill, struggled breathing and started sweating. Until I focused on a little girl dancing in her moccasins around the drummers. When I told an Elder I had a strange experience, without me saying anything, he described how I had felt. I asked him how he knew. His answer: because you were visited by a spirit and you felt its pain and energy. An experience I will never forget. To this day, I still have chills every time I hear it.

All my Relations

14 thoughts on “Women warrior song and Highway of Tears

  1. Rosemarie

    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely wll written article.
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    Reply
  2. Roxanne

    I followed a link, researching The Women’s Warrior Song. I feel so deeply connected to it, and reading what the elder said just made the dam break, so to speak. Still crying, though I have no real idea why. What do the words mean? What is the song trying to convey? So healing, in a cathartic way.

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      hi Roxanne
      it is healing. I feel that deep connection too when I hear the song. I get chills every time. It is a song to give strength to women, to give them healing. So they reach deep down to the warrior inside of themselves. And to honor the missing women and what they went through.

      Reply
  3. Laurie

    Right now our govt has started an inquiry into MMIW and this post with song and prayer is perfect. Thanks Emily for helping us to honour “traditionally” our MMIW. Miigwetch, Masi Cho. <3

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      hi Laurie!
      I am so glad you enjoyed the post and think it is relevant. It is a cause that is dear to my heart and I will keep at it until we see justice and the women really gets the attention and honor they deserve.

      Reply
  4. Sherry Peltier

    Good day! My name is Sherry Peltier from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island Ontario. I came across this beautiful song one day while perusing YouTube for hand drum songs. I would like to contact Martina Pierre and request permission to sing her song. I have been learning it, shared the song sang a bunch of women hand drummers today and we sang it in honor of MMIGW Day. I have tried to contact her through fbook but no luck. Can you forward or pass along info to me so she can contact me. My email is sherrypeltier@hotmail.ca or by Facebook at Sherry Peltier.
    Miigwech!

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      Hello Sherry
      nice to meet you. The Woman warrior song is indeed such a powerful song, such a moving and spiritual song. Unfortunately, I do not have direct contact with Martina Pierre. I have been around her and heard her sing the song but do not have her contact information.

      Reply
    2. Christine

      Hello. Martina Pierre is a respected Elder from the Lil’wat Nation. I am of the Lil’wat Nation also, and Martina Pierre is a friend of mine. Martina Pierre has informed me that she does not mind if people share the song, as long as they acknowledge where it comes from, and that it is sung properly. This song came to Martina in the Sacred Sweat Lodge, while she was offering prayers for her daughter, and this song came as her prayer – she received an answer that everything will be alright. This is a powerful prayer song to be sung in gratitude, love and prayer.

      Reply
      1. Emily Post author

        hi Christine
        thank you for adding this. It is the message I have heard coming from Martina Pierre at gatherings I have been with her. Acknowledging where this powerful song comes from is so important.

        Reply
  5. Cheyenne Campbell

    I am first nations and I am doing a project for college and am wondering if i could get the lyrics translated into English, I will singing the song in native tongue but my teacher and other class mates will not understand the lyrics, thanks!

    Reply
    1. Emily Post author

      Hi Cheyenne
      so nice to meet you. I have heard the lyrics explained but cannot remember their meaning. Will try asking around for them.

      Reply

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