Women urged to enter politics

by Marty Brown
Northern News Services

NNSL (Mar 12/97) - Women were urged to get political during the recent International Women's Day celebration at the legislative assembly.

More than 200 men, women and children listened as Sharon Buness-Hall, the executive director for the NWT Status of Women Council, who told them that knowledge that stays silent does no one any good.

Women must have the courage to bring our knowledge into the open at community meetings, at hamlet and band council meetings, she said. And, she added, by becoming more active in politics.

"Women have a great wisdom. We understand what's needed to create healing in our communities," she said. "Women work from their hearts."

Addena Sumter-Freitag's poem "There is Something Wrong With This Picture," written to protest women's poverty and cutbacks to health care, struck a sympathetic note at the event.

"I was so mad when I wrote it," said Sumter-Freitag.

Solstice Sisters, a group of six Yellowknife women who have been harmonizing for years to get their social messages across, led the audience in singing Bread and Roses, the unofficial International Women's Day theme song.

The council's annual Wise Women awards were also announced at the ceremony, but Cecile Baton from Deline was the only recipient present.

The council began handing out the awards five years ago to recognize women at the grassroots level who have made life a little better in their own communities. This year there were 42 nominations from across the territories.

Mary Adele Bishop from Rae, Hannah Quaraq from Pond Inlet and Maryanne Tattuinee from Rankin Inlet were the other winners.