Talking to some people the other day, it came up that my Matriarchal Ancestors come from the Red River Metis Settlement in Manitoba, that I have Indigenous Ancestry. These are people who vaguely know what I do, yet it was obvious that they did not see me as "Indigenous" as I did not fit their stereotypical notions of what an Indigenous person should look like or even talk or act like.
Being judged was a sore spot for me for a long time. I look white, I dress in modern clothes, I do not "sound Native", whatever that means.
It took me a long time to find myself, my true self... I was not brought up knowing I was Indigenous, it was the elephant in the room scenario. It is amazing what denial and avoidance can accomplish with my Family not wanting to admit to our bloodline. I had to search as an adult for that huge missing part of me. When I finally connected with First Nations People, I felt more at home than in the White World.
Yet in the end, it is not how we look, talk, walk or appear to others... it is what is in our hearts and souls. Our Spirit.
I find it offensive that I should have to carry a card to confirm my Metis Heritage. Do White people have to carry a card to say they are British, French, Irish, Polish, etc.... ???
I think it is time to bring things up to date. Look around you. There are Indigenous People everywhere, but they may not look it and they are not all shouting it from the rooftops. And why not? Partly because of prejudice and stereotypes. Some just want to live normal lives. And in general, we are not loud, boisterous people!
It was safer for us growing up not knowing we were Indigenous, less problems to deal with. It was easier for some of us than others. My Mom and one of my brothers looks more Native than White. I look like my Dad who was Russian. Strange combination huh? Yet, how many of you are from one pure race? We are all mixed breeds.
How many of you watch APTN, the Native Channel?
How many of you take time to learn about the First Nations, Inuit and Metis Peoples of this land?
What is your stereotypical image of an Indigenous person?
I highly recommend some reading materials for those who really truly want to learn about the modern Indian:
"The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America" by Thomas King
"The Imaginary Indian: The Image of the Indian in Canadian Culture" by Daniel Francis
These books give a historical account of how the image of the Native Peoples of Turtle Island was deliberately manipulated and controlled by the invaders, to keep them in their place and to justify the genocide that occurred over the past 500 years.
It is time to accept that we are all part of the Human species and stop the in-fighting, the stereotypes, the judgements and persecutions of each other due to how we talk, look, walk, dress and sound. Let's celebrate our differences and learn from each other. With the huge influx of immigrants to Canada, the colonialists who took over this country are now being overtaken by other cultures. What goes around, comes around.
The teachings I follow may stem from the Indigenous Ancestors of this Land, but the Sacred Circle is common to all life everywhere. All Ancient cultures in the world had Medicine Wheels of some sort.
It is great to honour the Ancestors and Ancestral ways, but in the end is not about culture, it is about Nature and Cosmology, truly....!!!
We all live on the same Earth and under the same sky! We all breath the same air.