Greetings everyone! My name is Chaw-win-is and I am a member of both Tla-o-qui-aht and Cheklesaht nations of the Nuu-chah-nulth people on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. I am honoured to be able to continue this important work in my role as Interim Prevention Manager. My efforts here in this role will be focused on maintaining the strong foundation that has already been established and to bring some of my own unique strengths and perspectives to this work. I have been working and organizing around the issue of sexualized violence since 2006 where 15 of us Nuu-chah-nulth women and men organized a march to address the issue of internalized sexualized violence in Nuu-chah-nulth communities. To read more about this community event check out the article in special edition of the New Socialist Magazine, with Indigenous editors Dr. Taiaiake Alfred and Dr. Glen Coulthard.
Activism, organizing and the roles and responsibilities I carry within my family and communities extends outwards and are woven into the way I choose to face the on-going realities that colonialism impacts the very bodies and lands of Indigenous peoples, communities and territories, with a particular focus and commitment to this island. The ancestors of this land, their collective efforts and the youth that drive change as well have made it possible for me to continue this work. Anything I have done or may do well or correct is thanks to their guidance, teachings and support.
Last fall I was invited to be a guest speaker for VSAC’s Core Training, at which time I spoke about colonialism, self-determination and the linkages between them and the sexualized violence that has become so rampant in our society today. It generated important conversations that continue to shape and form my work today and I really appreciated the way that the CORE facilitators created a welcoming and honest space for sharing to occur.
It has already been wonderful getting to know everyone at VSAC and to witness a strong and clear commitment to addressing/ ending sexualized violence and to have the privilege of working with such an innovative, inspiring and incredibly hard-working team in Prevention with initiatives such as our Community-based Response Network, Trans Inclusion Process, and Project Respect’s youth-led workshops and community-based social action. I am looking forward to working with all of you here and in the communities we serve.