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#2274 - Friday, September 30, 2005 - Editor: Jerry Katz

    Hello. Two news stories about women fighting for what's right.    

A warrior fights for her Texas town

In the tradition of Erin Brockovich, Diane Wilson sinks her teeth into an environmental challenge and won't let go.  

"I was beginning to discover the difference between women and other women," she writes, "and it wasn't measured by filling in their weights or their shoe sizes on a piece of paper or knowing what color of house they were washing their dirty dishes in or whether they hung their clothes to dry on a fence line in the backyard or shoved them in a dryer in a back room. A woman's difference was if she listened to herself at all."  

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     Sacred Land Being Transformed Into Cottage Lots

Silver Falls, Man. — When Caroline Bruyère was last taken by her family to the site of the sacred turtle on the banks of the Winnipeg River, she was a small girl.

Now an elder of the Sagkeeng First Nation and a 62-year-old grandmother, she returned last week for the first time in 50 years.

For the occasion, she put on a ceremonial sky-blue dress adorned with brightly coloured ribbons, sweetgrass and other talismans.

She pointed out the stones that had been carefully placed by her ancestors around the turtle. "To you they're just rocks," she said. "But to us they are grandfathers."

In the coming weeks, this pristine piece of the Canadian Shield is to be parcelled out and turned into lots for cottages.

It is part of a plan by the Manitoba government, first promised in 2002, to open 1,000 new, affordable cottage lots.

As Ms. Bruyère stood on the hump of the turtle, she said: "We're smack in the middle of where they say they will build. Most likely they will just blow our turtle up."

Her journey last week to Silver Falls, two hours north-east of Winnipeg, was part protest, part spiritual odyssey.

The Anishnabe natives consider the turtle one of their most sacred symbols. The stones placed around the animal represent the incarnation of the spirits of the ancestors.

The turtle's seven parts — head, body, tail and four legs — symbolize the seven codes of life: bravery, respect, honesty, humility, wisdom, honour and sharing.

Ms. Bruyère is one of an increasing number of aboriginals attempting to reclaim her culture and the forgotten secrets of thousands of years of spiritual history.

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