I don’t normally concern myself with elections of Chief and Council, because it is imposed by a foreign government, however, this time it’s a little bit different. My sister, well actually my slightly older first cousin Stacia, or Stacia Lou as I have always called her is running for Chief of Kenhteke, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.
Stacia is only 2 years older than me and has been much like an older sister, or what I imagine an older sister to be, as I have two older brothers. We grew up together as neighbours on Ridge Road, living side by side. I remember running out the front door and across the lawn to my Aunt and Uncle’s house on many days. She would sometimes boss me around, but as we got older I came to value her advice and experience, something that I, of course, value to this day. Although Stacia has a very busy schedule, she always makes time to really hear you.
When I was in Grade 4, my sister (and my cousins) moved away to Thunder Bay so that her parents could pursue their careers. We still kept in touch and would visit as often as we could. Although Stacia spent a lot of years away pursuing her education and being a Program Analyst and then a Manager in Toronto, her heart was always centred in Kenhteke (Tyendinaga). There is something very powerful about this place that we call home. We are deeply rooted in our connections to this place, to this land and to our history. Stacia, much like myself is motivated by doing what is right, in order to make a difference in our community, always with the future generations in our mind. With heart, with education, and with experience I know that Stacia has the best interests of Tyendinaga in her heart and mind. I know that she has what it takes to stand up for what is right, even when our history shows that maintaining the current status has been the trend with minimal movement. She is working hard to make gains for our community. Our way as Kanyen’kehaka people is that our women are held up with the utmost respect. I know this has not always been the case in a male dominated world, but just know that times are changing.
Stacia is currently working to complete her law degree at Queen’s University. She also holds a political science degree from Western University. She will be published in Western’s Journal of Legal Studies in 2020. She recently received awards from Queen’s Law as well as the Women’s Law Association of Ontario. She is making gains all the time, while simultaneously being a councillor in our Community. This shows her dedication and drive, which is definitely something to be admired. Stacia is a mother to an amazing daughter, who is more like a niece to me. She exhibits the same sense of drive and strength, traits that she has no doubt learned from her Mother. Stacia is a wife, one of her newest roles and I couldn’t be happier for her. Her husband, I can say, is one of the best people I know, much like Stacia. I am happy to call them my family.
The reason that I decided that I needed to write this is because I believe strongly that Stacia is one of the best people I know. I admire her drive and all of her accomplishments, a growing list. Although I am traditional and Stacia is running in a federal election, she respects my choice to not vote. Not voting does not mean I don’t have an opinion or a say. I am speaking for myself, just as you may speak for yourself. For me this comes back to the two row wampum, and if you have read my latest blog titled the same, you will know where I stand. Stacia respects this, and although she is running in a federal election her heart is with the people, and with our Community as well as the future of all of us. So in writing this I hope you see a driven person, a cherished member of my family, a Mother, a wife, a strong Kanyen’kehaka woman. Tsi Yoyanere Ie’khahatakhe (Stacia).