Evening Star Andreas
(Photo by Eagleclaw Thom, Intro by Shayna Stock)
When Star Andreas hears a call for help, she answers it. That’s how she ended up walking across Saskatchewan last summer demanding justice for Missing and Murdered Persons. A group of walkers who had crossed Manitoba from East to West had put out a call for Saskatchewan walkers to meet them at the border. Someone had to answer it, and that someone was Star.
I know Star as a key organizer in Regina for events around Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Idle No More flash-mob round dances. When she was first asked to carry forward the work of organizing vigils every year on February 14, she looked at the list of names and determined that once a year wouldn’t do; she would organize something every month.
The day I first encountered Star was a painfully frigid February 14, 2015. She was leading an outdoor vigil in Regina’s Angel Square at the corner of Dewdney and Montague. Dozens of people had shown up despite the weather. Snow and ice were blowing sideways and our faces were slick and numb as we stood, shoulder-to-hunched-shoulder, in a circle. Star was animated and in charge. I felt taken care of.
That’s what Star does – she takes care of things, and people. She is at once fierce and tender in her work – unyielding when it comes to injustice, but all laughter and softness if you sit down with her for coffee in her living room. When I did just that, to chat about this intro, we spent most of our time ogling kittens. Later that day, she posted a meme on facebook that reads “You can watch me, mock me, block me, or join me. What you cannot do is stop me!” This warrior does not suffer fools lightly.
KC: What kinds of projects are you involved in right now?
My name is Evening Star. I am from Treaty 4 territory. I am a Cree Woman Warrior and an activist. I bring awareness to the issue of Missing and Murdered Persons. I organize vigils, walks, and the laying of the flowers for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. In August of 2014 we had a 24-hour vigil on Albert Street bridge. I’ve walked with Gladys Radek in Tears4Justice. I’ve walked with Awasis, and in The Walk of Healing, The Walk for Unity, and Rise Up. Recently, we just walked across Saskatchewan to bring awareness to the small communities. It was called The Sask Women Warrior Walk.
I also organize flash-mob round dances. I got the idea for them during Idle No More. A round dance is a women’s ceremony where they invite the spirits to come and dance. When the round dance starts they open the doors to let the spirits in. People just come and have fun! There are so many beautiful dance songs. You should come to one. There are a lot of love songs. My kokum, Annie Feather, loved her round dances. The circle is important to our culture. It’s the strongest structure. The dances bring people together.
Right now we are working on organizing an event to bring attention to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Men - It seems people forget about them. We will be hanging neck-ties with tobacco-ties around the city of Regina on February 14.
KC: What is your day job?
I am usually a cook. Now, I just cook for the community because that’s where my heart is. I work at SWAP (Street Workers Advocacy Project) every Monday. It’s free. Everyone has the right to a good meal.
KC: What is important to you?
It’s important to me to raise money for a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) System, to help locate the missing people. They cost about $30,000. That’s a lot of Steak Nights! We will do everything in our power to raise the money: bake sales, car washes, art sales, GoFundMe -anything.
Sometimes I think our (Indigenous) lives don’t matter because the police and RCMP aren’t doing anything. No one is looking for the Missing. Some people blame the (missing) women for their choices, but what we should be doing is teaching boys and men not to rape or murder.
It is important that all people have a roof over their head and food in their fridge. All children should have a good education and a solid future in a safe environment. Our elders and veterans having a safe place in which to retire is important. So is safe drinking water and no pipelines. It is important we have safe soil in which our children can grow food.
KC: What do you like most/least about Regina?
Regina is small and good to raise a family. This is my hometown and it’s easy to get around on foot.
What I don’t like about Regina are the gangs. They (gangsters) are killing each other when they should be helping the community. Even Al Capone fed the people. The gangsters here make the kokums cry.
KC: What is your impression of Saskatoon?
I lived in Saskatoon in 2007. I really loved it there. There was lots of entertainment. I lived right on Broadway. But, they have a lot of violence there too. Same problems; different location.
KC: How do you survive the winters?
Mother Earth never sleeps. She always needs protection. I am a warrior. I never rest. I am always on the front-lines.
KC: (From Proust Questionnaire) What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Backstabbing. Especially among women. Women are suppose to be the backbone of a community. We should support each other.