Metis and proud

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

2 comments on “Metis and proud”

  1. P.L. Susana Reply

    Hello.
    I come from a Portuguese family, but we have lived in Luxembourg for three generations now. I’ve had to take crap because of my nationality and I was even bullied by my first teacher for three years – she was quite racist and kind of hated me on a personal basis, too, I believe.
    I don’t listen anymore to idiots who try to attack be, my family or my friends because of our origins. But what really has been getting to me is my father.
    He keeps telling me how much he is proud of his nationality, but on the other hand he wants me to go get the Luxembourg nationality – or at least the double-nationality. He explains that practically all Portuguese are seen fit for only jobs like cleaning woman or what ever, so basically he is telling me that being from Portugal IS shameful.
    It seriously annoys me because I don’t understand why I should go and hide my origins behind another culture. There is no reason for such a thing.
    I’m proud of who I am and of my family and our origins.
    People with little education, culture, moral, etc exist in any culture and country and it’s narrow minded , racist , intolerant and quite dump to portrait a whole ethnicity in such negative ways. And all those who think in such ways are only degrading themselves as being a bunch of big idiotic a***s.
    I do get annoyed myself at how some Portuguese people act here in Luxembourg – some people simply act in such embarrassing manners that one can only look away and shook his/her head in disbelieve for so much lack of manners.
    Still, taking over another nationality will not make the issue vanish, it’ll only strengthen the prejudices some have.
    I’ve run a big part of my life away from certain issues and confrontations, but I’ve reached a turning point a few years ago and changing nationality is like the “easy route” you pick in order to simply run away….And I don’t want that.
    I really never understood why people pick and bully others based on their origins. We’re ALL humans, living beings, and since we are doted with so much intelligence (although I sometimes believe certain individuals do lack that) we should know better than to do such things. Hate, prejudice, racism and etc never solved problems, nor do they make things get better.
    And it does not matter what nationality every single one in a country has as long as the whole population is able to live in peace without conflict. And it is wrong to undermine people because of their identity and personality since ones origins and nationality are important on a personal basis, and they all have the same value.
    No one is better or worse than some one else and this applies to every aspect single aspect that defines us as human beings, a community and an individual.

    • BeWytched Reply

      Thank you for sharing your own story. I believe that some in the older generation were taught to hate their own culture which is why some would rather not admit they are of a certain culture. My mother is a good example of that. She was removed from home as a small child, along with her other brothers and sisters, to go to a residential school which was run by nuns and priests. Her family had no say in what happened as her family were first nations and not seen as smart enough or good enough or Catholic enough to raise their own children. When my mom was placed in this school she was harmed by the priest at age 16 but the abuse started long before that. When she was in that school she was forced to speak a completely different language and not speak her own languages. Her family spoke 5 or more different languages. She was beaten when she spoke her words or couldn’t speak the English she was being forced to learn. For my mother, those memories of being shamed stayed with her, her entire life. When I started school she was too embarrassed to admit she was my mother for fear I would be treated differently. My brothers were luckier than I though because they were whiter skinned and could pass for English. Sometimes children learn to hate who they are and that sounds like what happened to your father and my mother. No one should hate who they were born to be. My advice to you is to do what you believe is right. If you define yourself as Portuguese then be proud. Even in my own culture there are not always good people but that does not make an entire race or culture of people bad. Again thank you for sharing and thank you for standing up for what you believe in too. The world needs more people like you. Have a great day.

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