Today, people around the world will come together to celebrate this globally recognized day that proudly showcases the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women.
Here at Cottage Living & Style, we wanted to take a different approach to the classic spin on this incredible day. Today, we would like to recognize the fearless females that raised us, our moms. Without them, we would not be the strong, independent, and successful females we are without their forever love and support. Today’s post is not about likes, comments, advertising, or selling the brand. Today we celebrate you.
To my mom, a beautiful, strong, and resilient Ojibwe woman. I struggled to write this because there is just so much I want to say, but I guess I’ll start sharing what’s in my heart. My mom faced a lot of adversity, pain, and struggle for most of her life. Growing up on an Ojibwe Reservation was hard, and frankly, it’s unimaginable to many Canadians today. I don’t think most people realize how hard life is on an island, let alone a reservation on an island. It wasn’t until I became a mother myself that I realized all the sacrifices she had made for my sister and me. Most importantly she made sure that the intergenerational trauma would end with her.
There was never a day that I ever questioned her endless love for us. Even through the toughest times, she was there tucking us in at night or getting up before we did to make us breakfast. She made sure we always had nice clothes, and food in our bellies and she made sure we knew we were loved. Not only is she the best mother, grandmother, and partner, but she’s also a fighter. She spent many years fighting for justice and acknowledgment from Canadian Government for the pain her father, (my grandfather) and his siblings faced at residential school.
I’d love to share more about residential school, and life on the reserve if you’re interested. Let me know in the comments or send us an email.
My mom inspires me every single day. She finished college, worked very successful jobs, and even went back to school in her 30s (when my sister and I were young) because it was her dream to get her nursing degree. Both my parents worked hard.
It’s wild that I grew up in the same place she did because she told me how she never wanted to move back to the reservation. But when I was born my parents made the decision to sell their home, and move into the cottage that my grandfather built on the island (part of the island serves as income for the band which means there are cottages who live there). I remember spending my childhood on the water, living close to nature, and I honestly had the most amazing childhood. Looking back, I know why they made that decision because it was a safe place to raise children, that was surrounded by family and the rest of our community. I know it wasn’t an easy decision.
My mom taught me many things, like to never give up on my dreams no matter how hard it may seem, to advocate for myself, to love my children fiercely, and to be a strong, independent Indigenous woman with fire in my soul.
But today on International women’s day, I want to acknowledge the women like my mother, the Indigenous, Black, and colored women, the women who grew up facing adversity every single day. As a country, we are slowly becoming more aware of the challenges Indigenous (and BIPOC) women face, but there is still so much that needs to be done.
Without the basics, like clean drinking water, a safe home, and access to education, many Indigenous women never get the opportunity to move off the reserve, to find success, or to be given a chance to end the intergenerational trauma. I wanted to bring attention to a few Indigenous charities and organizations that are fighting to change policies and provide essential and quality resources like education to Indigenous peoples all across Canada.
How you can support Indigenous Women
I have personal ties to the NWA and they have helped so many women and mothers I know. This national group is an aggregate of Indigenous women’s organizations across Canada, advocating for Indigenous women, girls, and gender-diverse people.
Supports northern Indigenous communities through humanitarian assistance, with a focus on accessible food, housing, water, and education.
The society works to ensure the safety and well-being of First Nations youth and their families through education initiatives, public policy campaigns, and providing quality resources to support communities.
One of my favorite charities invests in Indigenous education and continuous learning.
To my mom, this International Women’s Day. Growing up in a small rural community outside of Fredericton, New Brunswick, topics like racism, gender equality, and terrorism were often never spoken about. I grew up safe and cared for (but also sheltered) because of the sacrifices my parents made on my behalf. My mom, who left her career to raise me and my younger brother when I was born, taught us both from an early age that we could be anything we wanted to be when we grew up. What she wanted was to raise a family and grow older watching us succeed. Our childhood was simple; we were surrounded by our grandparents, aunts, and uncles, and more love than you can imagine. We spent simple summers at the family cottage, worked hard in school thanks to her never-ending support, and learned to be kind, caring, and independent adults by watching her and doing as she did.
Today, on International Women’s Day, we celebrate the achievements of those before us that led to our victories as women today. Did my mom resent me as a child for having to give up her career and her place in society as a working female in a male-dominated workforce to raise a family? To this day she will deny it and say that raising us was the best job she ever had, but it makes me wonder how many other sacrifices she had to give for my brother and me to lead the amazing lives we’ve come to enjoy. While the world is full of amazing, powerful female role models (Hello Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Nancy Pelosi, and Canadian Icon Margaret Atwood) who have done countless acts to further politics, science, literature, and humanity, the women in our personal lives, be that our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, best friends or wives are ultimately the role models we directly look up too for strength, wisdom, guidance, and love when we need it the most.
While my mom was not directly involved in activist movements or professional struggles, she was instead at home raising me to be a strong, independent, and often stubborn female who would know her right in society as she grew. Someone once told me that motherhood is the greatest gift and most selfless commitment one can make, yet often also the most thankless. Motherhood I am told can sometimes feel like you are working a full-time job that isn’t making a difference in the world, especially when it comes to important topics like inclusivity, gender equality, and advancement. To my mom, this International Women’s Day, I want to thank you and challenge all of these previous thoughts. Without you, I would not be me. I would not be kind. I would not be brave. I would not be outspoken. I would not demand from life what I am owed. I would never have allowed myself to fall so hopelessly in love. I would not have gone out into the world so fearlessly if I did not know you would be there to catch me every time I fell. I am proud to be the daughter of a mother who raised a proud, fearless feminist.
Thank you for reading our stories, and our love letters to our mothers. We’d love to know who you are giving thanks to on International women’s day, or one thing you loved most about your childhood.