Saskatoon, Treaty 6: Priscila Ferreira Da Silva
(Photo by Jennifer Sparrowhawk, Intro by Melody Wood)
Priscila Ferreira Da Silva is unknowingly a force already. Just look at her, she is striking visually. But beyond that, you only need a few minutes to realize that she is an extremely empathetic human being, who cares for all sentient beings and their health and wellness. From animals and the various ways they are harmed and taken advantage of - to humans and speaking out and working to overcome patriarchy and racism. A force - and she doesn’t know it, which is what makes her all the more attractive.
Currently, Priscila makes her home in Saskatoon and cares for her community, as flawed as it is, which is evident in all the community work that she engages in. She is brilliant, working on a double degree. And her constant writing is consistently thoughtful and beautiful.
Priscila is a chef who makes nutritious and delicious cruelty free meals that are worthy of awards. She is an artist. Some time ago she picked up a camera and has already built an impressive collection of photos. She is a world wanderer who relishes in experiencing other cultures, music, animals and people.
For now, she is on an incredible learning journey, which mind you, won’t ever end. She craves knowledge. But one day, she will share her life with a cat and pig. Just wait and see.
KC: What kinds of projects are you involved in right now?
I have been the co-president of a campus group called the International Women’s Movement (IWM) for the last two years. We essentially began this group because we collectively felt like there was a lack of space for women of color in Saskatoon. It is difficult to be representative of women from diverse backgrounds but I think we provoked important dialogues around racism, immigration, women’s rights, sexual assault, self-identification, and so on. This year, the other co-president and I decided to pass the IWM along to other young women on campus who are eager to give continuation to this work.
It is with much pride that Melody Wood and I, along with the OUTSaskatoon team are launching a children’s book series called “Rainbow Families” that commemorates two-spirited and LGBTQ+ families living on Treaty 6 territory. I took photographs of community members who have small children and who were willing to participate and share their personal stories. We hope to combat lesbophobia/homophobia instilled in children that may persist into adulthood.
Within the last year, I’ve also been involved with a local group speaking out against police violence, which is a predominant issue in Saskatoon, especially affecting the lives of Indigenous people and people of color.
At the moment, I, along with other lovely women, are looking for ways to create a wider feminist alliance in the city. I know women are much more than the status quo that forcefully determines every aspect of our lives. I think we need a solid space for redefinition, spiritual growth, and healing.
KC: What’s your day job? What do you like about it? What’s challenging?
I am a research assistant on a research project looking at transracial adoption and Indigenous child removal. I have the opportunity to work and learn from Indigenous scholars and community organizers from all over the country. This is such important work considering the continuous attempts to break down functioning Indigenous families throughout history, and the over-representation of Indigenous children in the foster system today.
I am also a teaching assistant for an introductory Indigenous Studies course at the University of Saskatchewan. I have the chance to conduct my own seminars with real students!! Considering the prevalence of racist attitudes in Saskatchewan, I hope to engage in meaningful anti-racist conversations with students and hopefully get them to interrogate the current power structures.
Both of these jobs challenge me to wake up early and be on time.
KC: What do you like most/least about Saskatoon?
I like the warm sense of community I feel here. There are tons of amazing individuals committed to making our communities safer for everyone. Although my family lives far away, I have a solid support network filled with the most wonderful humans.
I absolutely despise the racism entrenched in people’s minds. I cannot stand the conservative mentality that prevails in the province and how that continues to pose major barriers on the livelihoods of women, immigrants, indigenous communities, and LGBTQ+ folks.
I also dislike the obsession people have with knowing where people who-do-not-look-white-and-have-an-accent are from after exchanging 5 words. I started answering ‘I am from this continent, how about your ancestors?’ * blank face *
KC: What’s important to you?
The earth, the animals, the protection of oceans and rivers, the Amazônia rainforest that is currently being destroyed by agribusiness interests, food sovereignty, Indigenous rights, cultural preservation, vegan foods, feminism, ending rape culture, advancing my education, genuine relationships, my family and friends, LGBTQ+ existence, community organizing… and anything else that disrupts the colonial and patriarchal narrative. Oh, and cats!
KC: What is your impression of Regina?
I have only been in Regina a few times for very short periods of time. I still remember the dreamy vegan brownie I had at the 13th Avenue Coffee House.
KC: How do you survive the winters?
I grew up in an equatorial region and I’ve always dreamed of seeing snow and wearing winter coats, boots, and toques. I guess my dream came true.
(From the Proust Questionnaire) What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Hiking up a waterfall and being mesmerized by how immense the world really is.