Yoga Journal

Power Moves

Two years ago, Shayla Stonechild awoke from a dream at 4 in the morning in her Vancouver apartment. She had goosebumps on her arms and chills running down her back. A voice had whispered a dharma in her ear as she slept. Three little words: the Matriarch Movement. “I believe dreams are messages from your ancestors or your guides,” Stonechild says. “And I thought, I need to make this come alive.” What that would look like—that became her pathfinding mission.

As an Indigenous woman living in Canada, Stonechild, 27, who is Plains Cree and Métis from the Muscowpetung Saulteaux First Nation, is no stranger to fear and discrimination. Today, there are more than 4,000 documented unsolved cases of missing and murdered Native women and girls in the United States and Canada, according to a 2020 report by the Sovereign Bodies Institute, a research nonprofit tracking gender and sexual violence against Indigenous people. And experts warn that these estimates are low “due to underreporting, racial misclassification, poor relationships between law enforcement and Native communities, poor record-keeping protocols, institutional racism in the media, and a lack of substantive relationships between journalists and American Indian and Alaska Native communities,” wrote the Urban Indian Health Institute in a 2018 “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls” report.

At the time her ancestors brought her that dream, Stonechild was sick of feeling vulnerable.

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