Can I help you? 

When a white woman tells me she wants to help me, I immediately go into protection mode. I have to protect myself from violence…state violence, lateral violence.

And I also have to work to protect myself from exploitation.

Exploitation from white women.

How will this white woman’s help benefit me? Does her “help” only benefit her own self?

I ask, all white women, what have you risked today and what will you risk tomorrow in order to help me, an Indigenous woman?

Your offer of help only presents more questions than answers.

Do you only use my name? My indigeneity? My relationship to you? My work? To benefit your own self?

Sure, some people don’t know how to ask for help but if your help doesn’t help me, or others like me, in real, tangible ways tomorrow… then you are no help to me, to us.

Do you pay for our work? Our labour? Our knowledge? Our expertise?

If I am the only one doing the teaching, then you are the only one that benefits. I want some benefits too. My relationship to you isn’t equal if only you benefit and my relationship to you isn’t equal if the risks you take are less than the benefits.

So, I ask, all white women, what have you risked today and what will you risk tomorrow in order to help me, an Indigenous woman? If the risks are less than the benefits for you, than they are for me, you are no help to me. You are only more work… for me, for us.

If only you benefit from your offer to help us, then you are no help to us.

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