June 21st marks National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada.
Aisle is a settler-founded company that conducts its business on the stolen lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples. We are grateful to these people for stewarding these lands for thousands of years prior to European contact.
Over the years, our team has expressed its commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous First Peoples in many ways. We have attended workshops to better educate ourselves about Canada’s colonial history of genocide, including residential schools, where Indigenous children were systematically rounded up and forced to live in cruel circumstances where they were stripped of their language, culture, family ties, safety, dignity and in too many cases, their very lives.
In partnership with the Menstrual Health Hub, we conducted a video interview series called Re-Indigenizing Menstrual Health, exploring the wisdom and experiences of Indigenous women leaders with respect to menstruation. Rather than using the term ‘Decolonizing’, we chose ‘Re-Indigenizing’ as a more empowered, future-thinking way of addressing the question of what a post-colonial Indigenous worldview might look like.
In 2022, Aisle supported The Period Purse, who worked alongside a First Nation in Ontario to create their own Moon Time Zine for their young people. The zine has recently been completed and is being distributed in multiple communities. The colonial province of Ontario is the traditional territory of 133 First Nations, comprising 23% of all Indigenous people in Canada.
‘Moon Time’ is a common expression among Indigenous Peoples for menstruation, and indicates the relationship between the lunar cycle (28 days) and the human menstrual cycle (which is also often 28 days, however varies widely between individuals). The purpose of the zine is for Indigenous young people to learn about and be proud of their moon times, as well as to learn Indigenous terms related to the menstrual cycle.
The zine was co-created in community by a group of Elders, knowledge keepers, Aunties, and young people in a Mohawk First Nation, and features artwork by Kit Thomas (she/they), a Mohawk painter, speaker, teacher, drag king and model.
Social inclusion is an often-overlooked yet critical facet of addressing period poverty. When we assume a ‘one size fits all’ approach to achieving menstrual equity, it can be unintentionally exclusionary. We are proud to be co-creating access solutions and educational materials that support menstrual equity in an inclusive, culturally respectful manner. Many thanks to the Period Purse team for their role in making this possible. The Aisle team is proud to be walking alongside you!