You will hear or see many words from many people, lawyers, feminists, academics. Likely, you will hear or see many words from the same lawyers and feminists who tried to erase her sex trade experience at canada's highest court. All experts on Indigenous women. No experts on Indigenous women in the sex trade.
You may hear or see how she did not have a choice. You may hear or see that she went there not once, but twice. You may hear or see that consenting to one night means you consent to the second night.
You may hear or see that the justice system doesn't deliver justice but that is what is justice...about just(us).
But not us.
Indigenous women in the sex trade experience. With sex trade experience. Indigenous women working in law, knowledge of the criminal justice system, lived experience, experience in the sex trade and experience being exploited. Experience knowing that even if we could...she could...we could not and would not call police for help.
You, we, us. Do not belong here.
He did not call the police. He left for work. Another day in colonial canada. A dead native sex trade worker laying in the bathtub.
When I first wrote about Cindy Gladue, I was on my way to an interview for a summer law job. I almost passed out on my way to the interview.
I reminded myself to breathe. All I could do was breathe.
Today, I will remind myself of the same day as I continue to work in law, knowing that justice does not come from the just(us) system.
Today, I will remember, honour Cindy Gladue, her name, her life, her family.
Today, I will remember that are many people like me who cannot speak out, who cannot write, who cannot be seen or heard because we are/were like Cindy.
As they say, sometimes the only good Indian is a dead Indian. This is the only truth that canada knows...that I know: we only matter when we are dead.
Today, I will continue on with my work. Just as he did.
Don't mind me. Us.
This is justice.
You can view my thoughts on the decision here and if you are a lawyer and you are interested in attending a CPD session hosted by OBA, please visit this link: https://www.cbapd.org/details_en.aspx?id=ON_ON19ABO04C. It is on June 17 in Toronto and on webcast.