Hey everyone, welcome to another episode of MsRepresent: Behind the Face, a Fierce Woman. I’m very excited to introduce my guest, Audrey Siegl (ancestral name sχɬemtəna:t), a Musqueam warrior and protector involved with Idle No More. Audrey is also a prominent figure in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side where she organizes against gentrification and advocates for accessible housing for marginalized communities. This past summer, Audrey caught the attention of the media and public as she was a leading force against the eviction and tear down of tent city in Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park. This fall, Audrey is running for City Council with the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE). Her platform includes homes for all, protection for women and Indigenous Sovereignty.
For this episode, Audrey discusses matrilineal Musqueam culture, the effects of colonization on Indigenous women’s power, the impacts of homelessness on women and women’s leadership in the Idle No More movement.
Until recently Audrey Siegl (ancestral name sχɬemtəna:t) lived in East Vancouver, where she was raised by a single father of East Indian and British heritage, and by her mother’s Musqueam family. In recent years she has moved back to the Musqueam Indian Reserve in a process of reconnecting with maternal and ancestral ties, where she has worked in the Musqueam Language and Culture Department to revitalize hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language.
She currently lives and works on the reserve, located south of Marine Drive near the mouth of the Fraser River, where she gives tours of the cultural pavilion and gallery, as well as the Chinese market gardens. The reserve is a beautiful but very small portion of traditional Musqueam territory. In recent years Audrey has been an active in the Idle No More movement. She was also involved in organizing the protection of c̓əsnaʔəm (Marpole Midden) in 2012, and most recently the homeless Tent City in Oppenheimer Park,Vancouver, B.C.
Audrey uses her voice to draw attention to growing inequalities in Vancouver, which she sees as having roots in the system of colonialism, a system that creates dispossession from the land, and which values the lives of certain people and communities at the expense of others. She wants to work to radically change Vancouver as we know it and to build a city where basic needs and humanity come before corporate profit and corporate politics.
Intro/outro music: “Rainbow” by Emilie Simon. Remix from the original.
Additional music: “A tua choradeira é meio salário em lenços” by Stealing Orchestra & Rafael Dionísio. Remix from the original.