Previous Article Next Article FNPI Search Home Previous Year Next Year Year List


The Saskatchewan Indian Women's Association

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      JANUARY 1972      v03 n01 p09  
photo Shall it soon be that, "the hand that rocks the cradle shall rule the world?" I think not just yet, but Indian Women today are letting, other people know what they think and how they feel about problems on the reserves, and are now doing something about it in their own way. We now have a voice, called S.I.W.A., (Saskatchewan Indian Women's Association).

The Indian Women of Saskatchewan started getting together some five years ago by taking courses such as sewing, cooking and home economics, sponsored by the Extension Division, University of Saskatchewan. The efforts of Mrs. Gladys Johnson, who at that time was the Community Development Officer for Indian Affairs Branch, provided resources for these women, to assist them in ways of improving living conditions on the reserve.

However, the intention was not to organize the women formally at that time, but in recent months the ladies realized that there was a definite need for the involvement of other Indian ladies, through a Provincial organization, in order to express their views and ideas.

photo Following a meeting in June 1971, a Steering Committee was selected to explore the possibility of the formation of a Provincial organization, not overlooking the fact that Chiefs and Councilors were to be informed of what the intentions realizations and concepts of Indian women involvement is, as this is relatively new to Indian tradition.

The objectives of S.I.W.A., are to promote and assist the development of Indian women living on reserves and to coordinate activities of reserve organizations on a Provincial level. S.I.W.A., will act as a liaison to maintain and sustain Indian Women's need for preserving and promoting Indian Culture. As members of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians we hope our aims and objectives will be compatible with that of the F.S.I., since we are faced with the same day to day problems in our own communities.

All ladies living on the 67 Indian Reserves in Saskatchewan, and also those ladies living in the urban areas will he eligible for membership in S.I.W.A.

S.I.W.A. is planning to host the Second National Canadian Indian Women's Conference to be held in Saskatoon at the Bessborough, March 22nd to 24th. Mrs. Beth Paul will be the Coordinator for this conference, and with Mrs. Jean Goodwill, the Chairwoman, of the National Native Women's Steering Committee, this conference promises to be the start of something new. The ladies plan to have some Eskimo representatives and also some ladies from the United States as guests.

This Conference will mean a great deal to the Indian Women of Canada, as it means the beginning of a movement for positive change, not only away from certain traditions but towards a positive change, not only away from certain traditions but towards a positive objective for which Indian Women will unite and work. In order to cope with the society in which we live, Indian women have realized, and are aware that we must take a stand on matters that concern us and our families. There is no need for us to explain Indian reserve conditions. Therefore, if any possibility for changes are to be made, we feel that we can take some of the responsibility to improve and create new approaches over areas of great concern.

The newly formed organization more or less began some years ago when a number of Indian women were involved in courses such as sewing, cooking and home economics, sponsored by the Extension Division, University of Saskatoon. The efforts of Mrs. Gladys Johnson, who at the time was the Community Development Officer for Indian Affairs Branch, provided resources for the women, to assist them in ways of improving living conditions on the reserve. However, the intention was not to organize the women formally at that time, but somehow, the ladies were motivated into realizing that there was a definite need for the involvement of other Indian ladies through a Provincial organization, in order to express their views and ideas.

Following a meeting in June 1971, a Sterling Committee was selected to explore the possibility of the formation of a Provincial organization, not over looking the fact that Chiefs and Councillors were to be informed of what the intentions, realizations and concepts of Indian women involvement is, as this is relatively new to Indian tradition.

Irene Tootoosis of Poundmaker is the President of S.I.W.A.; Joyce Quewezance of Kamsack is Vice-President; Dorothy Sparvier of Broadview is Secretary and Laura Johnson of Mistawasis is the Treasurer. The above-named ladies are also area coordinate as well as Lizette Ahenakew of Battleford.

The objectives of S.I.W.A. are to promote and assist development of Indian women living on reserves and to coordinate activities of reserve organizations on a Provincial level. S.I.W.A. will act as a liaison to maintain and sustain Indian women's need for preserving and promoting Indian Culture. As members of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indians, we hope our aims and objectives will be compatible with that of the F.S.I., since we are faced with the same day to day problems in our communities.

All ladies living on the 67 Indian reserves in Saskatchewan, and also those ladies living in the urban areas will be eligible for membership in S.I.W.A.