Would the roles of indigenous women be strengthened by the revival of traditional law?

Rachel Snow tells us about her father, the good he did for the Nakoda people, and how the revitalization of traditional law could restore the role of women in Indigenous communities.

Michael Hutchinson

Face to Face

Rachel Ann Snow is a strong Nakoda women trained in the laws of her people and those of Canadians. She is also the daughter of the late Chief Jon Snow.

Almost as soon as we arrived at her house, Rachel threw us in her truck and began to take us to the location that she picked for the interview. The Morley rez is beautiful. Snuggled in the foothills leading to the Rockies, it is full of bush, and fields, and valleys, and stunning overlooks. We soon turned off a gravel road and down two mud tracks leading into the trees. Rachel’s truck took a lot of scratches as it pushed its way through the branches and bramble.

As she drove, she spoke about her father and his desire to find a modern space for Nakoda Spirituality. She spoke of the plans and goals that he set in motion with the hope of making a better life for the Nakoda people. Rachel has been fighting to clear her father’s name from those who have spoken ill of him and accused him of corruption. This includes our previous Face to Face guest, former judge, John Reilly. Chief Snow and the judge shared the spotlight in the early 1990s during a conflict over justice programming on the reserve.

When we arrived at the location, Rachel was surprised to find Morley’s buffalo herd in the valley below us. She said she hadn’t seen them in that location in a long time, but she also felt it was fitting that they were there as we discussed her dad. He had helped bring the buffalo to the reserve and she said a number of buffalo visited the wake of her late father. She says it was a strong acknowledgment of leadership by Creation.

The valley filled with buffalo was certainly an awesome sight to see and a great location for our discussion.

In the final half of our interview, we discussed the role of women and how their place in Nakoda society could be restored with the revival of local Indigenous law. Oddly, or maybe not so oddly, reviving Indigenous law is also seen as a solution for the Nakoda’s problems by her father’s former foe, Judge Reilly. Although they have different tactics of how that should come about, giving modern expression to the laws of Indigenous peoples was seen by both as the way forward.

I hope you enjoy the interview with Rachel. She is an outspoken Nakoda women and was described that way by all the community members I told I was interviewing her. She obviously cares about her people and their place in the world.

Thank the Creator for Indigenous women and all that they do for our communities.

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