Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Year in Review: the Craziest Bitches of 2009!

This year Wideye and I decided to honour some outstanding women who have touched the lives of other men, women and children by being truly crazy bitches (as per the definition of this blog): by standing up for themselves for others and the people they love. Here is our list of 2009's Craziest Bitches.

March 11, Update has new info on McIvor and status. Check it out: Click here to read, get links to INAC and a call in number.

In the #1 Spot: Sharon McIvor. First Nations governments do not have the power to give Indian status to their members, this important power to determine who is legally Indian has rested with the federal government since the 1870s. Having Indian Status is important because it means being able to live on reserve, vote in band elections, qualify for health benefits and post-secondary education. To many, it also means a connection to a community and identity as a First Nations person.

The federal government has always discriminated against women in the way it awards status and First Nations women have fought the federal government in courts and before the UN for decades.
The latest battle started in 1985, when a British Columbia law student Sharon McIvor applied for status for her children. The federal government denied the children status because Sharon's mother was Indian. If Sharon's father had been Indian, the government would have recognized her children. Sharon spent the next 25 years fighting in court. During that time the federal government decided to recognize Sharon's children hoping she'd drop the case. Sharon did not. She kept fighting on behalf of all the other First Nation women and children in the same predicament, even after the federal government cancelled the Court Challenges program and Sharon had to fundraise hundreds of thousands of dollars on her own. Sharon has also had to face criticism from a small number of chiefs who nitpicked over the nitty gritty of her legal argument. Easy to criticize boys, while you sit on your duffs and do nothing to help the women in your community. Fortunately the majority of chiefs threw their support behind Sharon, at least verbally. They were a little tighter with support when it came to their pocket books.

Sharon scored a minor victory in BC court last year which will give legal status to a generation of children. Unfortunately the decision is not a complete victory as it does not end discrimination, it will only delay discrimination for one generation. The Supreme Court of Canada had a chance to hear the case but decided not to. As per usual the court gave no reason for it's decision.

You may not have gotten all you hoped for but you fought the good fight and or standing up for yourself and others you are are the Craziest Bitch of 2009.


Other Posts on this topic include :


Here are the other picks and names we consider to be 2009 Top Crazy Bitches. (In no particular order.)



Olive Patricia Dickason a Métis woman born in Winnipeg MB won a life time achievement award, because of the remarkable body of historical research and writings. He work continues to influence and changed the way historian, academics, and Canadians regard First Nation and Inuit nations in Canada.

I nominate her because of her tenacity and for the never ending lessons she gives all women everywhere. She fought for the right to study Aboriginal history as a graduate student because in 1970 the University of Ottawa did not believe that Indians had a history. She earned her doctorate as a historian at the age of 57 years after having raised her family in Montreal. And she fought mandatory retirement at 65 and won in the lower courts but in 1992 at the age of 72 she lost the appeal to the higher courts and was forced into retirement form professorship at University of Alberta. And 1997 she was the recipient of the National Aboriginal Lifetime Achievement Award for bringing a truer historical perspective to the history of Canada and Aboriginal people.

She came to grad studies in the early 1970s, after a 20-year career as a journalist with the Regina Leader-Post, the Winnipeg Free Press, the Montreal Gazette and the Toronto Globe & Mail. She won numerous awards during her newspaper years. She took a media job after graduating with her BA from the University of Ottawa, based on work done at Notre Dame College in Wilcox, Sask.

"After my family was grown up, I was able to return to university," she said. "I applied, and was accepted at the University of Ottawa and the University of Toronto. But by then, I had to work while I was going to study, so the logistics of the big city were too much. I went to Ottawa, which was a small city.

Her book Canada's First Nations: A History of Founding Peoples from Earliest Times has become a standard and accepted text in history classes across the country. It includes the first consistently accurate portrayals, in a sound academic work, of Indigenous people in history.

Her time as a professor, and her significant contributions to the literature of history in Canada, have influenced a whole generation of scholars, and will continue to be the basis for much historical work done in the future. She was honoured last February with the order of Canada, and this year received the National Aboriginal Lifetime Achievement Award. She was selected over 24 other nominees for the honour.


Last Spring Governor General Michaëlle Jean sliced off and ate a raw piece of a seal’s heart commenting that it tasted just like sushi. It was a token action designed to show solidarity with sealers who were being devastated by a European ban on seal product imports. Criticized by European animal rights groups, but praised by the Inuit, Michaëlle Jean also exposed the ban on seal for what it is, cultural prejudice. And that gesture earned Michaëlle Jean a spot on our top ten Craziest Bitches of 2009.







Once you have a child you are a parent for life and it is inconceivable that any parent would short change their child, especially when the parent can afford to live in luxury. It must have been a difficult choice for Dena Buckshot to step into the spotlight and publicly call out her wealthy and powerful ex-partner Patrick Brazeau for being a deadbeat dad. As the National Chief of CAP Brazeau earned a tax-exempt 3 figure salary, drove a porshe and after moving into the senate, he earned $130,000 . However, during this time his child support for his son amounted to a pitiful $46.90 bi-weekly. Plus he missed payments 3 times since 2004. For standing up for her child, for taking on a powerful public figure, and finally, for making an example of dead beat parents, we congratulate Dena Buckshot and have added her to our list of Craziest Bitches.




The Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) was a very important organization in the 1980s when it championed women's rights issues in relation to Indian Status. Then it stopped being relevant or even noticeable for two decades. Some of the provincial chapters delivered government programs and services, but it was hard to understand what exactly NWAC was doing (if anything) at the national level. That is until 2004 when Beverley Jacobs was elected president and breathed new life into the organization, raising awareness about the number of missing and murdered women through the Sister's In Spirit Campaign. NWAC has been working with communities, families, government and police in trying to address gaps in justice that have led First Nations Women to be targets of violence and victims of poorly executed police investigations. Beverly Jacobs decided not to run for election last year, and has left some big shoes to fill. For drawing national attention and advocating on an important issue that had been ignored for too long, and for restoring relevancy to NWAC, Beverley Jacobs makes our list of Craziest Bitches.

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4 comments:

skdadl said...

Terrifically informative post. New news, for once! Thanks very much.

Jymn Parrett said...

Michaelle Jean??? Prorogue queen?

Ward of the State said...

lol Jymn, well she earned it for 2009, no one says she'll make 2010.

penlan said...

Wonderful post!! Thanks...

 
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