My mom is first nations but was not always proud to admit it. She came from a small town filled with many Metis families who had been there for generations. The kids were removed to attend schools or convents. Their language and heritage was in some cases beaten out of them so they went from being proud to be first nations to being ashamed. It was during my mom’s time in the convent that she learned that being first nations was bad and she became ashamed. When she married my father, a white man, she had her thoughts of being less than, confirmed by the beatings she received.
When I started school years later, my mother never attended my school events except for once when I was around 6 years old. I was in a Catholic school and it was parent night. Mom came in the room and I saw the nun give her a very nasty look and then my mom walked back out of the classroom determined never to go to any of her kids school events. It wasn’t until I was well into becoming an adult with kids of my own that I spoke to my mom about that and to be honest I was shocked by what she said. She told me that the day the nun gave her the nasty look she decided that perhaps it was better for her kids who could pass as non native, not to have their native mom show up and embarrass them. She didn’t want us to be treated in the same way which she and her other family members had been during their school years. I cannot understand how it must be to hate the person you are. Hate the culture you belong to and see yourself as less than anyone else.
Now I understand why mom never came to school but back then I didn’t. I am proud to be a Metis woman and will never hide because of the color of my skin or my beliefs. I only hope things have changed now and that not every first nations person is seen as a “dirty little indian” but rather for their ability to survive as a people no matter what. I know many people who are doctors, lawyers, teachers, nurses and more. Not every fist nations person is a drunk or drug addict. I am first nations and proud. Just thought I would share a little about me. x