The Making of a Matriarch (by Marlene Hale)

Our guest blogger this fortnight is from the Wet’suwet’en Nation, born in Smithers, northern BC, and is a Chef/Activist/Filmmaker.

This week’s blog post includes a linked audio file. Just click on the link below if you would like to hear the post read aloud. Scroll down to read the text.

My name is Marlene Hale and I am from the Wet’suwet’en Nation, born in Smithers, BC north.

I am a Chef/ Activist/Filmmaker.

I am speaking today on “The Making of a Matriarch.”

Sometimes pop culture makes us feel like there are only two options for us as women…you’re either a young maiden or an old matron.

My circle of women and I are on a mission to demystify the process of aging gracefully and transforming ourselves into strong feminine archetypes.

We have created a space where we can come together to share our experiences, knowledge and tips gained from initiation and from life.

This is a space for you to feel supported on your individual journey as a woman and a place for you to recharge yourself through connection with other women.

All women have the four elements within, water, air, fire and earth.

Those aspects are within all of us.

And at a time when a woman actually gets her cycle, all those four divine elements are coming into harmony with one another.

It’s a very monumental time in a young woman’s life, because it comes with all kinds of challenges and internal struggles to harmonize the self as well.

How that plays itself out when a woman goes through the menarche when it kind of settles, then she’s a seeded woman, if she has lived her life appropriately. In the family, the community, that’s when she becomes that solid pillar that everybody can come to, that is relied upon. She will be called upon as that mom, fulfilling that role. That Matriarch. That moon cycle within a woman, which is very central.

On ageism: In society it can take many forms.

The things that women carry in Indigenous culture, that’s where women are the strongest.

The nonphysical aspect of spiritual energetic, those things that are not talked about or valued a lot of times, and that we’re aging. We’re getting in that Matriarchal role, and we hold it.

Societal expectations regarding family and caregiving responsibilities disproportionately affect women, impacting their progress and ability to hold powerful power.

Usually what’s more important is youth and beauty.

Women have been more focused on just trying to retain those aspects of themselves, and don’t have the opportunity to really foster the other side.

The youth that goes from the physical to the spiritual side of the world, from Indigenous leaders who have been holding this knowledge for many generations.

So we’ve put a lot of that aspect of ourselves.

The aspect that the Matriarch is loved for her in her community, said from family, cooking, education and health awareness. There’s always those spiritual aspects.

In most communities, you know how it is when someone is giving a blessing.

To get a blessing is more powerful when it comes from a grandmother, it’s one of the most powerful things you can receive.

It resonates so deeply within us.

That’s because women are to be the gender that holds a lot of power.

Marion Cumming – Gave her land and mansion back to the Indigenous People when she passed in Oak Bay, Victoria BC

You can see why ageism is happening.

The culture has to be taught to the youth at a young age.

“No principle” is the principle.

Know when to step in and use your power, a power that lies within, she is holding things down, and is capable of taking care of the family, the home, knowing when to do healing and nurturing.

From child rearing, a glow and capability is in the womb.

You are always still learning.

The passage to Matriarchy is in our bloodlines, awareness rights we are conquering ourselves.

In your society values are taught and lived.

You are somebody’s mother, you should not disrespect anyone’s mother, the grandmother, you use your power in a positive way and stick by them.

You walk with confidence and know your roles and boundaries. You have high values and high morals and discipline is engrained.

When Matriarchs begin to disappear, there is a choice to either step into places they left behind, or to craft a new space.

Your support encouragement as Matriarchs in your family, experience, the knowledge of life.

Walking on the paths of lineage belongs to humanity.

You have a platform to reach and re-connect harmony and stability.

From those lineages to the present, passing from Colonization to Modernization, our ancestors, the divine, belong to the natural.

We are expressing, from those traditions, elders, and women matriarchs from this society, being a model, from grandmothers, aunties, mothers, are blessed to have a model that you mimic.

Once you have fallen into the shoes of your mother, you have learned a lot.

When I was young we knew that, when in the company of elders to be seen and not heard.

My Mother (Chief’s name is Guheh) Lucy Rose Verigin in garden of pink flowers

Motherhood indeed presents numerous challenges, and these difficulties can provide valuable insights and lessons. Without experiencing and overcoming hard times, it becomes challenging to convey to young people the importance of resilience and the impact of cultural pressures.

This lived experience helps in guiding the younger generation, offering them real-life examples and wisdom on how to navigate societal expectations and pressures.

We never stop learning, on our journey to Matriarchy!

I want to thank you for listening and I look forward to your comments.

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