lastrealindians:

The Eagle Bull- Oxendine family is being sued by their child’s school for defamation, because they asked the school to permanently change their offensive and culturally insensitive Thanksgiving curriculum and to honor a two-year scholarship taken from their daughter after they voiced their concern over Native appropriation there.
They’re raising funds to defray mounting legal expenses. Please share this link and donate what you can. If they lose, we all lose. This case has the potential to set dangerous precedent where Natives are effectively gagged from speaking out against appropriation and the abuse of our culture and sacred ways by mainstream society. This is legal conquest. We can’t allow them to play Indian and hide behind judicial robes to do it. Thank you.  Contribute here: http://www.gofundme.com/8f3z30

lastrealindians:

The Eagle Bull- Oxendine family is being sued by their child’s school for defamation, because they asked the school to permanently change their offensive and culturally insensitive Thanksgiving curriculum and to honor a two-year scholarship taken from their daughter after they voiced their concern over Native appropriation there.

They’re raising funds to defray mounting legal expenses. Please share this link and donate what you can. If they lose, we all lose. This case has the potential to set dangerous precedent where Natives are effectively gagged from speaking out against appropriation and the abuse of our culture and sacred ways by mainstream society. This is legal conquest. We can’t allow them to play Indian and hide behind judicial robes to do it. Thank you.
Contribute here: http://www.gofundme.com/8f3z30

The Level Playing Field Myth

The number of opinion pieces coming out over the June 26, Supreme Court Tsilhqot’in decision have been staggering in volume. Unsurprising, given that we have waited 17 years since the Delgamuukw decision first pronounced the possibility of Canada recognizing Aboriginal title to see a Court point to a specific tract of land and say, “and it looks like that”.

I do not want to go too much into depth about the content and possible implications of the judgment itself. I already live-tweeted my first reading of it, and I discussed it on Indigenous Waves recently. So very briefly, the ‘highlights’ in my opinion are:

  • The decision removes the fear that Aboriginal title could only be found on postage stamp areas where people lived either permanently or semi-permanently, and instead extends the possibility of Aboriginal title to wider territories that were heavily used by a people.
  • The Court reminds everyone that translating pre-Contact Aboriginal practices into modern day rights cannot be done by shoving everything into a common-law box. Aboriginal perspectives must inform the translation process.
  • The Court admonishes everyone to remember that it is inappropriate to approach Aboriginal land/rights claims on an overly technical basis. The issue is justice and reconciliation, so don’t try to undermine this with nitpicking over dotted ‘i’s.
  • Terra nullius, on which the Doctrine of Discovery heavily relies, was found to have never applied in Canada. So the Court has once again told us how Canada did NOT gain sovereignty over the lands, but remained consistently vague on how Canada DID gain this sovereignty. Other than saying, as always, that when sovereignty was asserted by the Crown, it crystalized. Colonial magic.
  • The Court says that the content of Aboriginal title is basically the right to ‘enjoy the economic fruits’ of the land and resources. Aboriginal title is collective, not individual, and underneath it all still remains Crown title. Crown title consists of whatever is left over after Aboriginal title has been subtracted from the equation. Essentially remaining are: a fiduciary duty to deal fairly with Aboriginal peoples and the right to infringe on Aboriginal title as long as the infringement meets section 35 test criteria (i.e. if it’s important enough to Canada).

To keep this all in context, the Tsilhqot’in had Aboriginal title recognized in only 5% of their total claim area, private properties within that area were left out of the claim and continue to exist as private properties, the territory in question did not overlap with other First Nations territory, and Aboriginal title lands are still part of Canada and subject to justifiable infringement. Also important to remember, is that this entire discussion is being framed within a context wherein Canada has the right to ‘recognize’ anything at all when it comes to Indigenous rights; a right hotly contested by Indigenous peoples themselves.

However, to hear some people talk, the Tsilhqot’in decision spells the end for ‘modern democracy’. It’s really this fear-mongering, and the western liberal myth of a ‘level playing field’ that I want to address.

To give you a sense of the arguments I’m referring to, Gordon Clark wrote a perfect example in The Province today. I call this a perfect example without a shred of sarcasm. Other pieces, that I will not be linking to, have done a bang up job of exposing a deeply racist approach to the Tsilhqot’in decision and to Indigenous peoples in general, and are easily deconstructed for the distasteful bigoted mess they are. Clark’s piece, however, is arguably more insidious, because it appeals to the progressive desire for equality within a liberal democracy, wherein all people are created equal and deviations from that philosophy constitute the real injustice.

However, the argument ends up betraying itself in the end, requiring the sacrifice of human rights in the name of some notion of ‘economic security’. For this reason, I would encourage progressive Canadians to critically re-examine this all too common-place opinion and evaluate whether they truly wish to support such an approach.

Clark treads a well-worn path with this piece, and variations on this theme can fill volumes, so this is really not a response to the man himself. I want to challenge the ideas he expresses that are shared by so many well-meaning Canadians. So please permit me to break down for you, what I find so problematic with this particular approach.

Acknowledging the past is good enough

First, this argument invariably begins by acknowledging Europeans behaved very naughtily towards Indigenous peoples and that racism has certainly factored into that behaviour. Clark even mentions provincial and federal governments, so he does not contain these bad things in the distant past directly following Contact. Starting with this position allows one to recognize the racism and abuse inherent in the Residential School system, for example, while ignoring how contemporary Aboriginal child welfare policies are linked to that system.

However, in acknowledging the past but cutting it off from the present, there is a strong implication that at some point, Canada got itself sorted out and began dealing fairly with Indigenous peoples. The exact date of this occurrence is never mentioned, so the driving events that led to ‘the change’ vary greatly in the opinions of those making this claim. The idea is that policies and actions taken in the past were driven  by inexcusable racism, whereas policies of today, if they fail Indigenous people, fail because of incompetence rather than malice or structural design.

This is a central pillar of the western liberal myth of a level playing field: recognizing that Indigenous peoples have legitimate grievances stemming from awful things that were done in the past, but that the advent of a modern democracy means that we are now all equals and we have an obligation to behave as such.

What this part of the argument always relies upon is the implicit notion that any remaining problems faced by Indigenous peoples stem from an inability for people living in Canada to commit to a standard of “equal citizenship and equality before the law”. This charge will be levied at First Nations leadership and Canadian politicians both. There is little need then to understand how historic injustice has molded and shaped conditions today, and continue to find structural expression within the Canadian context. There is even less need to deconstruct how ongoing injustices are inextricably rooted in that history. Instead, a bright line is drawn between the past and the present we could all be living in if only everyone embraced liberal democracy wholeheartedly.

(Of course all ideologies rely on the notion that if everyone wholeheartedly committed to living the ideology in question, there would be unity; a recursive notion that disregards the reality of differing perspectives.)

Ironically, this way of acknowledging the past is just as dismissive as pretending the actions of European governments after Contact were justified. Both approaches refuse to acknowledge that there is in fact no break between the past and the present, and that current policies and structures differ only in appearance. Historic policies to assimilate Indigenous peoples and deny their rights were overt and irrefutably based on beliefs of Indigenous inferiority, while today’s policies simply make assimilation into the Canadian body politic seem like an unintended consequence of ensuring everyone is equal ‘under the law’ (if not socially).

Equal access to rights has been achieved

The next step in this argument is that everyone in a modern democracy has equal access to the same rights, and that any policy or judicial decision that recognizes differences is in fact creating inequality. Thus, the progressive can criticize the deeply racist Indian Act while at the same time arguing that recognizing Aboriginal title is equally as damaging to the notion of “equal citizenship and equality before the law”.

This position is only tenable if one believes that equal access to the same rights has already been guaranteed. Again, this belief relies on an ahistoric view of the modern context. Not only does it dismiss outright the way in which Indigenous and colonial relations have shaped current political and legal structures in Canada, it also outright rejects Anglo common-law socio-political traditions.

Canadian law, be it Anglo common-law or French civil law, comes from a tradition that favours male land owners, and is inherently set up so that the richer you are, the more rights you have. If we narrow the view of rights to include only the trappings of modern liberal democracies, such as the right to vote, and the right to protections under the Charter, then one can claim with a straight-face that we are all equal ‘under the law’. However, even liberal progressives are quick to acknowledge that legal equality does not necessarily translate to social equality, so why insist in the context of Indigenous peoples that the one will naturally follow the other?

Equality before the law will solve any problem

One way in which western liberal thought attempts to address the reality of difference in modern democracies is through the notion of equality before the law. Sometimes you will see people arguing that it is imperative all people are treated exactly the same under the law, but of course modern democracies do not actually function that way, and this position crumbles easily.

Equality in this sense does not mean sameness. It does not insist that all people are the same and are to be treated as such. In fact, accommodating differences is arguably a central tenet of modern liberal democracies.

For example, legal equality as sameness would require people in wheelchairs to use the stairs, a patently ridiculous and unjust notion. Instead, building codes throughout Canada require a certain number of wheelchair ramps and elevators to ensure equal access to all people regardless of their level of mobility. Less obvious accommodations are also normalized. For example, the Quebec building code requires that women’s bathrooms have more toilets installed to address issues with longer wait times experienced previous to these legislative changes. Neither wheelchair accessibility nor extra toilets in women’s bathrooms are held out by liberal progressives to undermine modern liberal democracy, so why then is acknowledging Indigenous differences so threatening?

Many will argue that there is no need for the category of ‘Aboriginal’ at all, only ‘Canadian’ and that equality before the law will address any accommodations needed via other individual categories (woman, person needing a wheelchair, unemployed, single-parent, etc).

It is at this point the argument requires that Indigenous people assimilate completely, voluntarily giving up the category of Indigenous (because it can be legislated away but it must also be collectively rejected). Here is where the outcome (complete assimilation) mirrors the overtly racist historic approach, despite the philosophy (we are all equal versus you are inferior to us) differing considerably.

Canada has an official policy of multiculturalism, which would ‘allow’ Indigenous people to exist as Canadians, and celebrate surface culture (food/music/clothing) without existing as a separate legal category. Indigenous people would need to stop advancing their claims to Indigenous rights, and exist within a framework of Canadian rights. This can appear as completely non-problematic to those who do not understand that Indigenous  socio-political orders continue to exist, and exist outside of the context of any Canadian legislative or judicial sphere. Giving that up to ‘become Canadian’ and to be folded into a western liberal rights framework is the definition of assimilation. No amount of fry-bread and community Cree classes can change that.

The other option, if Indigenous peoples refuse to voluntarily assimilate into the Canadian body politic, is for Canada to stop recognizing the category of ‘Aboriginal’. Abolish the Indian Act, abolish recognition of Aboriginal status, and simply stop discussing the notion of Aboriginal rights entirely.

Both of these options have been repeatedly called for literally since the beginning of Canadian politics. The rhetoric changes with the times, but the goal is still the same.

Equal citizenship requires erasure of differences

The underlying problem with this entire approach is that certain differences or acknowledging certain differences is seen as being inherently threatening to modern democracy. Further, the choice as to which differences threaten national cohesion is not value neutral, despite any possible claims to the contrary.

Divisions between us already exist in a myriad of unavoidable ways, and we do not attempt to erase those differences in the name of “equal citizenship and equality before the law”. In fact, we constitutionalize those differences and legally require that they be accommodated. We attempt to get rid of ways in which those differences are penalized legally or socially, unless those differences are actively harmful (i.e. pedophiles).

It is very unlikely that the same people arguing that Indigenous ‘differences’ threaten democracy would argue that differences between able-bodied and disabled people hold the same threat (though they will certainly differ on what level of accommodation is appropriate). Yet Clark states, “As long as natives are treated differently, it will perpetuate divisions and even breed resentment, neither of which is good for Canada.”

Replace the word ‘natives’ with any other descriptor of difference that exist in Canadian society and is legally accommodated, and try to argue that this category of difference should be erased for the sake of unity or to avoid resentment. This argument only works when discussing how that category of people should not be specifically discriminated against (such as within the Indian Act), but the argument quickly falls apart when arguing that accommodations should no longer be made, unless the category is actively harmful. And here is the crux of the argument. Indigeneity IS seen as actively harmful.

The Indigenous danger is economic

The harm of discriminating against Indigenous peoples is clearly recognized by liberal progressives, so we don’t really differ on that account. The disagreement is rooted in the notion that accommodating Indigenous difference is actively harmful to a modern democracy.

Accommodating Indigenous differences is not seen as harmful merely because it creates resentment, regardless of Clark’s statement. No doubt people resent all manner of accommodations provided to various categories of differences within the Canadian liberal democracy. This resentment is not called upon as justification for abolishing those other categories altogether or for moving backwards on advances that have been made (i.e. imagine resentment being used as an reason to abolish gay marriage in Canada).

Rather, the danger lies in the fact that of all groups in Canada, only Indigenous peoples (and possibly the Québécois, also mentioned by Clark) have prior legal claim to land and resources that are otherwise believed to belong to Canada. That this prior legal claim is recognized by Indigenous law and Canadian Aboriginal law is viewed as deeply problematic because it directly impacts Canada’s economic power. There is great fear that the Tsilqot’in decision, and the entire body of Aboriginal law that recognizes Aboriginal rights as ‘burdens’ on Crown title, will damage Canada economically.

The test: economy vs human rights

Notice that throughout, I have only been arguing within the western liberal framework, rather than from a position of Indigenous rights. I do this deliberately, because I think the western liberal approach needs to be self-critical, and these are the flaws I am seeing.

If a modern democracy wishes to ensure “equality of citizenship and equality before the law”, then the law must become a tool to ensure equal access to rights and resources. That process is undermined when we ignore a group that has been historically disadvantaged, and ignore how that history results in contemporary lack of access to rights and resources.

Engaging in this sort of blind eye approach in the name of unity without admitting that the real fear is economic is problematic enough, but the meat of the matter is that people are suggesting a human rights matter be overlooked for the sake of the Canadian economy.

Liberal democracies engage in this sort of balancing act all the time, so this concept of tempering human rights concerns with economic concerns is hardly new or antithetical. However taking this position that economic concerns must in this case trump the human rights issue of Indigenous peoples in Canada, much is assumed.

It is assumed that abolishing the category of “Aboriginal” will be more cost-effective than acknowledging it. This is a major flaw in the argument that economic concerns should trump human rights. Billions of dollars are spent on providing Indigenous people with services such as health-care, education, social services, infrastructure and so on, not to mention the monies spent on court cases centered around Aboriginal rights.

However, the vast bulk of these monies (flowing Constitutionally from the federal rather than provincial government) are already provided to Canadians. Were we to abolish “Aboriginal” as a category, this cost would not disappear, it would simply shift onto the shoulders of the provincial governments. Making Indigenous people “Canadian” does not mean they no longer require healthcare, education, social services and infrastructure. In fact, given that Indigenous peoples are historically underfunded in all those areas, the cost would be higher once they were folded into the Canadian body politic.

It is also assumed that abolishing judicially-created obligations towards Indigenous peoples would be more cost-effective than continuing to engage in them. This includes things like the Duty to Consult, court costs, as well as all the time and money put into negotiating outstanding land claims and comprehensive claims.

This ignores the well-studied economic and social impact that occurs when Indigenous people are denied Indigenous rights or accommodated as a category of people. Whether the strategy is relocation from isolated communities to those with more accessible services, refusing to accommodate Indigenous people in the justice system, or ignoring how differences impact Indigenous children in the child welfare system, it has been  made very clear over the years that the social (and economic) cost of denial is shockingly high. In essence, abolishing “Aboriginal” as a category does not abolish the very real differences that exist, nor the social and economic costs associated with dealing with how those differences are manifested in Canadian society.

One would have to engage in a very thorough cost-benefit analysis to determine whether the supposed economic benefit of abolishing the category of “Aboriginal” would be worth it. In doing so, one would have to become much more familiar with the issues than most people making this argument are, so in that sense I recommend it. Just don’t ignore data and skew your equation with a bunch of minuses.

More importantly, those advocating these kinds of arguments need to take a hard look at whether using an economic cost-benefit analysis to determine when to trump human rights is consistent with one’s own beliefs. Is this really where people want ‘modern democracy’, even within a capitalist economic system, to go?

Calling for a more honest discussion

For many, the answer to the question above might still be yes, but I would rather have them say it outright than pretend that the call to abolish “Aboriginal” as a category is about fairness and equality rather than economic concerns. Let’s agree that this conversation needs to become more honest.

There does not exist today a ‘level playing field’ upon which Indigenous peoples can benefit equally. Historic injustice did not cease at some magical moment to be replaced by contemporary fairness.

There is no ‘level playing field’ when it comes to the access of equal rights. Not for Indigenous peoples, and not even within the wider Canadian public. A host of barriers exist, preventing millions of Canadians from accessing the same rights and resources as other Canadians.

There is no ‘level playing field’ when it comes to equality before the law, in the sense that due to the recognized lack of access to equal rights, accommodations are specifically ‘written in’ to Canadian law. There is an attempt to create a level playing field by recognizing, not ignoring differences.

There is no ‘level playing field’ when it comes to deciding which differences must be abolished for the sake of equal citizenship. Before gay marriage was legalized in Canada, did the exclusion of homosexual marriage threaten equal citizenship? Canada has now taken the position that yes, it did, but quite obviously Canada did not take this position until very recently. Was it any less true when homosexual marriage was excluded? Recognition and accommodation is based on value judgments and values shift over time. In an age where racism against Indigenous people is widespread and systemic, it is difficult to imagine someone arguing that weighing the decision to recognize or abolish the category of “Aboriginal” is a value-neutral ‘level playing field’ exercise.

There is no ‘level playing field’ when the discussion becomes about how the colonization of land and resources as the source of Canadian wealth cannot be allowed to be threatened by the human rights issue of Indigenous peoples within Canada. The ultimate irony of the progressive liberal fearing that Indigenous peoples will ‘take Canadian land’ cannot be lost on any of us when this discussion is engaged. A great deal of this fear is based, in my opinion, on ignorance and that ignorance is preventing us from having the deeper discussions necessary to address the fear. A Mobius strip of foolishness that cannot be done away with by waving the legislative wand and pretending Indigenous peoples would be better off assimilated into Canadian society.

So if you find yourself making these arguments, or you come across them, please do a little bit of digging to find the roots. I see too many surface arguments calling for unity without a shred of nuance to be found, and I think that we ought to expect more from those who claim to be socially progressive.

êkosi

The level playing field myth

The level playing field myth

The number of opinion pieces coming out over the June 26, Supreme Court Tsilhqot’in decision have been staggering in volume. Unsurprising, given that we have waited 17 years since the Delgamuukw decision first pronounced the possibility of Canada recognizing Aboriginal title to see a Court point to a specific tract of land and say, “and it looks like that”.

I do not want to go too much into depth…

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marcinthelotus:

mirkwood:

misskittystryker:

naamahdarling:

behelitohs:

lindseywalnut:

utterlyfubar:

rcmclachlan:

doodlyood:

spinachandrice:

theonewholovesbooks:

thatfilthyanimal:

fawnthefeminist:

Young women are having difficulty accessing tubal ligation, despite it being a relatively safe (death rate is 1-2 per 100,000) and elective surgery.

There is a waiting period of 30 days for women seeking tubal ligation, yet no waiting period for men seeking vasectomies. 
(Source)


Young women are often discriminated against when seeking sterilization. Many doctors ask offensive questions (“What if you met a billionaire who wanted to have kids with you?”), state categorically that their patients are too young to consider the surgery, and generally act as though, as one woman who tried unsuccessfully to be sterilized at the age of 21 in the U.K. put it, ”just because I was a woman, I’d reach a point where an urge to breed would overcome all rational thought.” (Perhaps unsurprisingly, that woman’s 25-year-old husband faced no such presumptions when he asked his doctor for a vasectomy. The procedure was quickly approved.)
(Source)


Say that at 18 I slap down enough money so I could have my whole body covered head-to-toe in tattoos, piercings all over myself, a mountain of cigarettes, plastic surgery, and plan to have like 20 babies… but if I try at all to safely make it impossible for me to breed for the sake of my health suddenly its like WOAH THERE SLOW DOWN MISSY YOU’RE NOT READY FOR THIS KIND OF COMMITMENT YET

I have stage III Endometriosis, which means I have to get my uterus removed because I literally have terrible cramps ALL THE TIME and not just when I’m on my period. Now, I’ve always said I don’t want any children for personal reasons and I don’t need my uterus, really. I am not worried about that surgery and I don’t feel any kind of nostalgia over an organ I won’t ever use. 
The thing is, my doctor is a ‘man’. This ‘man’ told me I had to get pregnant right now before it’s too late. I told him I didn’t want to get pregnant and explained the multiple reasons but what, do you ask, did my doctor have to say about this? 'Well, better have a kid now because just imagine how depressing it must be being a thirty-something woman without children and a husband?'
I was diagnosed a year ago. I should have gone through surgery six months ago and I still can’t find a doctor that will perform the surgery without trying to force me to have children first. Basically, if you’re a woman you don’t have a say in what can and cannot be done to your body without a shitload of people getting in the way AND I’M FUCKING SICK OF IT.

Women are getting non-consensually sterilized in prison but no doctors in my area while tie my tubes at 24 because I might regret it? Fuck you, doctors. I have more purpose in life than dropping babies. Some of those women in prison are probably great moms and I have no interest in parenting. Let us have a say!

A dear friend of mine wanted to have her tubes tied.  She was about to give birth to twins and the doctors wouldn’t consent because she wasn’t 21 yet.  She had already had children and they still refused to let her have the procedure.

My friend got a vasectomy a week after asking his doctor for one, no problem. He was 25.
Me? I’ve asked 4 different doctors for some kind of permanent sterilisation—tubal ligation or Essure or whatever—and I get a pat on the head and a “You’d regret it if you did.”
Oh, DIDN’T REALIZE YOU HAD A DIRECT LINE TO MY BRAIN.

On the flip side, as a vagina-having person who had her tubes tied at the age of 26 (after having 4 children, however):
MY HUSBAND HAD TO SIGN A CONSENT FORM IN ORDER FOR ME TO HAVE THE PROCEDURE DONE.
How many times have we heard stories about husbands having vasectomies behind their wives backs and never telling them, letting those wives wallow in guilt and misery, thinking it’s their fault that they can’t get pregnant?
And yet I had had to get my husband’s permission to have my tubes tied.
(Obviously this was a decision we’d talked about extensively beforehand, so it’s not like he was about to say no, but we both couldn’t believe the fucking audacity of the hospital, asking HIS permission for ME to do something with MY body.  In fact, he said as much to the nurse that brought in the forms.)

This is fucked up. Your body is no one’s business but your own. Even if there’s no law against young sterilization, women still suffer just from societal expectations, which influence doctors who are unable to be objective. People think they’re being caring but are actually just afraid of anything that goes outside of their preconceived notions of what people should do with their lives. 

I got mine at 23 (no prior children).  Via the Health Department in the state I was living in at the time.  It was on a sliding scale, and because I was poor- it was free.I ended up having to wait a year and have a psychological evaluation.  Considering my tubal was free and they were actually giving one to me, I considered this a small price to pay at the time.In the state I live in now, I never would have been able to get one that easily.  I was EXTREMELY lucky.  I consider it a minor miracle, frankly.

Still, the psych eval is hella fucking offensive.  And it does make me wonder whether sterilization would have been denied to someone like me, who is certified disabled with a mental illness.  Because I might be too crazy to make such a permanent decision (but not too crazy to decide to HAVE a kid who would likely inherit the same disorders I have*).
* I have no problem with people who have mental illnesses and DO want to have kids.  I’m just not doing it, and I’m not pretending that the desire not to pass on the hellishness of my particular brand of crazy isn’t a part of that.

I found that arguing that I was too crazy to take care of a kid and would pass my crazy down to one was enough to get them to agree. 

White women though. White able bodied women.They’re STILL sterlising incarcerated black women as well as disabled people. And they’ve got a history of forcibly sterlising black and Indigenous American women but they keep white able bodied women forced to have babies.That’s real important to include in this whole scenario. Because it really makes you see exactly what the point is.

I know two American women (who talk about getting the procedure) who are both friends of the family and both in their mid 20’s. One is black and latina woman and got the procedure without many obstacles. The other is white and her doctors all refused to give her one even though she already had one child (a girl) and said they’d consider it once she was either in her thirties or had a boy as well. Went on about a “one of each” policy? Anyways I JUST heard them discussing it at a BBQ while we were visiting stateside last month and I thought it was fucked up and relevant to this post.

It was common practice (in Canada) when my mom was just starting our family, for doctors to push hysterectomies on Native and poor women while they were in labour, getting them to sign release forms during the worst pain of their lives. Then again, during those years they sometimes didn’t bother to ask, and Native women were getting sterilized without finding out until later, and Alberta is infamous for legislating a eugenic program from 1928-1972 allowing for the forced sterilization of people with mental disabilities and mental illnesses. 
They STILL push Native and poor women to agree to sterilization, hounding women during very vulnerable moments, telling us we have too many kids. I have no idea how it is for White women here in Canada in terms of electing to have one.

marcinthelotus:

mirkwood:

misskittystryker:

naamahdarling:

behelitohs:

lindseywalnut:

utterlyfubar:

rcmclachlan:

doodlyood:

spinachandrice:

theonewholovesbooks:

thatfilthyanimal:

fawnthefeminist:

Young women are having difficulty accessing tubal ligation, despite it being a relatively safe (death rate is 1-2 per 100,000) and elective surgery.

There is a waiting period of 30 days for women seeking tubal ligation, yet no waiting period for men seeking vasectomies. 

(Source)

Young women are often discriminated against when seeking sterilization. Many doctors ask offensive questions (“What if you met a billionaire who wanted to have kids with you?”), state categorically that their patients are too young to consider the surgery, and generally act as though, as one woman who tried unsuccessfully to be sterilized at the age of 21 in the U.K. put it, ”just because I was a woman, I’d reach a point where an urge to breed would overcome all rational thought.” (Perhaps unsurprisingly, that woman’s 25-year-old husband faced no such presumptions when he asked his doctor for a vasectomy. The procedure was quickly approved.)

(Source)

Say that at 18 I slap down enough money so I could have my whole body covered head-to-toe in tattoos, piercings all over myself, a mountain of cigarettes, plastic surgery, and plan to have like 20 babies… but if I try at all to safely make it impossible for me to breed for the sake of my health suddenly its like WOAH THERE SLOW DOWN MISSY YOU’RE NOT READY FOR THIS KIND OF COMMITMENT YET

I have stage III Endometriosis, which means I have to get my uterus removed because I literally have terrible cramps ALL THE TIME and not just when I’m on my period. Now, I’ve always said I don’t want any children for personal reasons and I don’t need my uterus, really. I am not worried about that surgery and I don’t feel any kind of nostalgia over an organ I won’t ever use. 

The thing is, my doctor is a ‘man’. This ‘man’ told me I had to get pregnant right now before it’s too late. I told him I didn’t want to get pregnant and explained the multiple reasons but what, do you ask, did my doctor have to say about this? 'Well, better have a kid now because just imagine how depressing it must be being a thirty-something woman without children and a husband?'

I was diagnosed a year ago. I should have gone through surgery six months ago and I still can’t find a doctor that will perform the surgery without trying to force me to have children first. Basically, if you’re a woman you don’t have a say in what can and cannot be done to your body without a shitload of people getting in the way AND I’M FUCKING SICK OF IT.

Women are getting non-consensually sterilized in prison but no doctors in my area while tie my tubes at 24 because I might regret it? Fuck you, doctors. I have more purpose in life than dropping babies. Some of those women in prison are probably great moms and I have no interest in parenting. Let us have a say!

A dear friend of mine wanted to have her tubes tied.  She was about to give birth to twins and the doctors wouldn’t consent because she wasn’t 21 yet.  She had already had children and they still refused to let her have the procedure.

My friend got a vasectomy a week after asking his doctor for one, no problem. He was 25.

Me? I’ve asked 4 different doctors for some kind of permanent sterilisation—tubal ligation or Essure or whatever—and I get a pat on the head and a “You’d regret it if you did.”

Oh, DIDN’T REALIZE YOU HAD A DIRECT LINE TO MY BRAIN.

On the flip side, as a vagina-having person who had her tubes tied at the age of 26 (after having 4 children, however):

MY HUSBAND HAD TO SIGN A CONSENT FORM IN ORDER FOR ME TO HAVE THE PROCEDURE DONE.

How many times have we heard stories about husbands having vasectomies behind their wives backs and never telling them, letting those wives wallow in guilt and misery, thinking it’s their fault that they can’t get pregnant?

And yet I had had to get my husband’s permission to have my tubes tied.

(Obviously this was a decision we’d talked about extensively beforehand, so it’s not like he was about to say no, but we both couldn’t believe the fucking audacity of the hospital, asking HIS permission for ME to do something with MY body.  In fact, he said as much to the nurse that brought in the forms.)

This is fucked up. Your body is no one’s business but your own. Even if there’s no law against young sterilization, women still suffer just from societal expectations, which influence doctors who are unable to be objective. People think they’re being caring but are actually just afraid of anything that goes outside of their preconceived notions of what people should do with their lives. 

I got mine at 23 (no prior children).  Via the Health Department in the state I was living in at the time.  It was on a sliding scale, and because I was poor- it was free.

I ended up having to wait a year and have a psychological evaluation.  Considering my tubal was free and they were actually giving one to me, I considered this a small price to pay at the time.

In the state I live in now, I never would have been able to get one that easily.  I was EXTREMELY lucky.  I consider it a minor miracle, frankly.

Still, the psych eval is hella fucking offensive.  And it does make me wonder whether sterilization would have been denied to someone like me, who is certified disabled with a mental illness.  Because I might be too crazy to make such a permanent decision (but not too crazy to decide to HAVE a kid who would likely inherit the same disorders I have*).

* I have no problem with people who have mental illnesses and DO want to have kids.  I’m just not doing it, and I’m not pretending that the desire not to pass on the hellishness of my particular brand of crazy isn’t a part of that.

I found that arguing that I was too crazy to take care of a kid and would pass my crazy down to one was enough to get them to agree. 

White women though. White able bodied women.

They’re STILL sterlising incarcerated black women as well as disabled people. And they’ve got a history of forcibly sterlising black and Indigenous American women but they keep white able bodied women forced to have babies.

That’s real important to include in this whole scenario. Because it really makes you see exactly what the point is.

I know two American women (who talk about getting the procedure) who are both friends of the family and both in their mid 20’s. One is black and latina woman and got the procedure without many obstacles. The other is white and her doctors all refused to give her one even though she already had one child (a girl) and said they’d consider it once she was either in her thirties or had a boy as well. Went on about a “one of each” policy? Anyways I JUST heard them discussing it at a BBQ while we were visiting stateside last month and I thought it was fucked up and relevant to this post.

It was common practice (in Canada) when my mom was just starting our family, for doctors to push hysterectomies on Native and poor women while they were in labour, getting them to sign release forms during the worst pain of their lives. Then again, during those years they sometimes didn’t bother to ask, and Native women were getting sterilized without finding out until later, and Alberta is infamous for legislating a eugenic program from 1928-1972 allowing for the forced sterilization of people with mental disabilities and mental illnesses.

They STILL push Native and poor women to agree to sterilization, hounding women during very vulnerable moments, telling us we have too many kids. I have no idea how it is for White women here in Canada in terms of electing to have one.

Heheheheheheheeheh I told my daughter the squirrel was eating the baby in the last picture.

I’m a terrible person.

Here is an excerpt from the Indigenous Waves where I had the chance to discuss the Tsilhqot’in decision, and explain why I’m not really willing to celebrate it too much.

Aaaand here is the second (and last) part of the Idle No More: Blockade game.

Since the game “Idle No More: Blockade” doesn’t work for Mac users, I created this video of the first 10 minutes of it for those who wanted a peek without having to hunt down someone’s PC to install it on!

So if you plan on playing it, don’t watch this, but otherwise, have at it!

Alright, hopefully this will work now.. for PCs anyway, not Macs. The last download link apparently required you to download special software to play the game. This should be self-contained, you just need to extract it and Bob’s your uncle!
https://www.dropbox.com/s/k0gvjst7inm54j6/Idle%20No%20More.exe

Alright, hopefully this will work now.. for PCs anyway, not Macs. The last download link apparently required you to download special software to play the game. This should be self-contained, you just need to extract it and Bob’s your uncle!

https://www.dropbox.com/s/k0gvjst7inm54j6/Idle%20No%20More.exe

Damn. Okay so that didn’t work yet.

Trying it another way, hopefully I can get this game out today!