Diyo’s Closet provides formal wear for Native youth
By Tom Keefer
SIX NATIONS – Janie Jamieson is well known on the Territory of the Six Nations of the Grand River. She was one of the three women that initiated the reclamation of the Douglas Creek Estates (now known as Kanonhstaton) and was a prominent spokesperson throughout the conflict. Along with her public role on the front lines of Onkwehon:we land defence, Janie is also known for the community initiatives she threw herself into following the tragic suicide of her 12 year old daughter Gahwediyo or Jewel Monture.
Jewel was a bright light in the Six Nations community. As a young girl she took pride in Onkwehon:we ways and culture and excelled at almost any activity she put her efforts into. By age 11, Jewel was an accomplished dancer in both western and traditional Onkwehon:we dance styles. She was also a model, actor, and sports player. Tragically, Jewel became a target of abuse and online bullying by jealous peers and manipulative adults. After suffering months of harassment and abuse, and with police and school authorities failing to take action despite frequent intercessions from her mother, Jewel took her own life at the tender age of 12 on November 12th, 2010.
Completely devastated by her daughter’s suicide, Janie Jamieson found solace in helping other youth. One of the initiatives that she launched in order to honour Jewel’s legacy was called Diyo’s Closet, an organization which receives and stores formal wear clothing to provide to young indigenous people for formal occasions.
Diyo’s Closet is currently accepting donations of grad/prom dresses. Contact Adrienna Antone at N’Amerind at 519-672-0131 if you are able to contribute. And if you are a native youth in need of formal wear, than stop by the N’Amerind Gym (260 Colborne St, London, ON N6B 2S6) on Saturday, April 29th, 2017 from 10am to 2pm to receive formal wear, shoes and accessories.
As Janie notes: “It’s been a pretty long hard struggle and throughout it all, I think the greatest joy that I have besides my sons I have left, is is giving back and doing what I can. there’s so many battles that I don’t post on Facebook, the only people that know about it are my close family and I.” Throughout her various efforts to support her community, Janie has always brought a strong and proud Onkwehon:we perspective to her work.
In speaking about Jewel’s life and her many accomplishments Janie foregrounds the many ways in which Onkwehon:we youth continue to suffer from privation and the continuing genocidal effects of Canadian colonialism. Janie’s words and experiences are not for the weak of heart, but the courage and pain that she shares is universal to humanity.