Friday, August 28, 2015

Women's Work

In Canada, the First Nations of the northern Northwest Coast are the Tsimshian, Nisga’a, Gitksan, Tlingit, Haida, Tahltan, Heiltsuk and Haisla. Among First Nations, weaving is the work of women. The ceremonial apron to the right is woven out of mountain goat wool and decorated with cedar bark and puffin beaks.

The following text is on a wall plaque in the Museum of Northern British Columbia, in the town of Prince Rupert. Peconic Bay member Mona Rowe is right now on a road trip through the area. The text speaks to the important role women play in ending war and violence.

“In 1893, in the Bulkley Canyon at the heart of what was once Temlaxam, 35 carved stone clubs were found in a hollow cache five feet underground and capped with a large tone. Gitksan elders at the time explained the cache by describing how a woman buried the weapons of the Temlaxam warriors at the end of a great war.” 

Women working for peace is a theme that Peconic Bay Zonta has highlighted on this website in past years, when we sponsored showings of the documentary “Pray the Devil Back to Hell.”

Two of the women featured in that documentary won the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. They are Leymah Gbowee, who mobilized and organized women to bring an end to the long civil war in Liberia; and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, elected president of Liberia in 2005. Sirleaf is Africa's first democratically elected female president.

A third woman, Tawakkol Karman, also shares the 2011 Peace Prize. All three were recognized by the Nobel Committee “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

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