Helen Knott on Accidental Activism, Politics & Healing Addiction

For years there has been controversy over the development of BC Hydro’s Site C hydroelectric dam on the traditional lands of Treaty 8 First Nations. Helen Knott shares her fight to save her traditional territory against the Site C development in the Peace River Region surrounding Fort St. John, British Columbia.

She connects violence against the land and violence directed at Indigenous women in her poignant spoken word poetry, writing, and activism.

On today’s episode Helen shares her journey to becoming a writer and poet, how she became an activist, how it changed her, her political trips to Ottawa to advocate against Site C, her struggle with addiction starting at age 13 and how she healed with ceremony and traditional treatment.

“With my words I try to be able to come full circle. If I’m talking about a specific issue I want to make sure it has some element of healing to give back to the listeners.” – Helen Knott

Listen to this episode

Today on the Women Warriors Podcast

  • Her role as a family navigator & connection to community (5:14)
  • Spoken word poetry workshop for youth (7:04)
  • Her journey as a writer and spoken word poet (8:09)
  • Her struggle to become a writer and how the Banff Centre for the Arts program helped (10:00)
  • Indigenous Women in Leadership Program (12:00)
  • Her upcoming book (12:41)
  • She shares her poem, Homeland 150 (13:54)
  • Her accidental activism against Site C (17:08)
  • Her advice to her younger self starting on the journey of activism (20:46)
  • How she has changed from activism (21:27)
  • Her political trips to Ottawa (23:04)
  • Her future in politics (27:23)
  • What her Nobel Women’s Initiative nomination means to her (28:27)
  • How motherhood motivates her (29:57)
  • How she’s learning her language (32:46)
  • Her fellowship for language revitalization & land mapping (33:30)
  • Pursuing her Master’s Degree in First Nations Studies (34:56)
  • Her advice for single moms (35:55)
  • Her struggles with addiction (37:25)
  • How traditional treatment & ceremony helped her heal (39:35)
  • The women she admires (43:00)

Selected Links from this Episode

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Connect with Helen Knott




CBC Arts, December 14, 2016, Dear Mr. Prime Minister: This poet has something to say to you about Indigenous rights