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Support Info: If you are a Survivor and need emotional support, a national crisis line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week: Residential School Survivor Support Line: 1-866-925-4419. Additional Health Support Information: Emotional, cultural, and professional support services are also available to Survivors and their families through the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program. Services can be accessed on an individual, family, or group basis.” These & regional support phone numbers are found at https://nctr.ca/contact/survivors/ .
The Invisible Indian
The Invisible Indian
It’s strange to
me how people always want me to be an “authentic Indian” when I say I’m
Haudenosaunee. They want me to look a certain way, act a certain way.
They’re disappointed when what they get is…just me. White faced, red
haired. They spent hundreds of years trying to assimilate my ancestors,
trying to create Indians like who could blend in. But now they don’t
want me either. They cant make up their minds.
They want buckskin and face paint, drumming, songs in languages they can’t understand
recorded for them- but with English subtitles, of course. They want educated, well-spoken,
but not too smart. Christian, well-behaved, never questioning. They want to learn the history
of the people, but not the ones who are here now, waving signs in their faces,
asking them for clean drinking water,
asking them why their women are going missing,
asking them why their land is being ruined.
They want fantastical stories of Indians that used to roam this land.
They want my culture behind glass in a museum.
But they don’t want me.
I’m not Indian enough.
They say I’m fake, but they don’t realize that every time I have to
write and speak to them in English, the language of the colonizer, I am
painfully aware of what I’ve lost. So I sneak around quietly, gathering
pieces- beads here, a word there, a dance, a song, until I’m strong
enough to stand tall and tell them who I am.
They tried to make Indians like me who could blend in.
My great grandmother moved her children out of their community into the big city of Toronto to try hid in plain sight.
I will break the silence.
I am clinging to every piece of my mom, my grandma, my great grandma
that I have. I am clinging to any bit of tradition that found its way
through the cracks, like a plant growing towards the light.
I have always been in love with these small pieces of resistance.
My great grandmother told my dad to bury my umbilical cord in the dirt
behind my home, Now a trees grows from that piece of me. I am connected.
When my aunties gather around tea I will absorb every story they tell.
I will stare at photos of my Akshotha until they speak to me.
I will scavenge all the bits of knowledge from here and there and pull them together.
Close to my heart.
I will knit with my grandma’s needles. The only piece of her I have.
I will knit until I know her.
I will forgive. Forgive my mom, her mom, and her mom, for what they couldn’t teach me. They
always did the very best they could.
I will hold on for dear life.
I will dig my hands into the dirt.
I will let them drag
and pull on me
until the earth is embedded under my fingernails.
But I won’t let go.
Canada's Residential Schools
The religious organizations that operated the schools — the Anglican Church of Canada, Presbyterian Church in Canada, United Church of Canada, Jesuits of English Canada and some Catholic groups — in 2015 expressed regret
for the “well-documented” abuses. The Catholic Church has never offered an official apology, something that Trudeau and others have repeatedly called for.
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Did you know?
New York’s 40-year battle for OBC access ended when on January 15 2020, OBCs were opened to ALL New York adoptees upon request without restriction. In only three days, over 3,600 adoptees filed for their record of birth. The bill that unsealed records was passed 196-12.
According to the 2020 Census, 3.6% of Colorado's population is American Indian or Alaska Native, at least in part, with the descendants of at least 200 tribal nations living in the Denver metro area.
As the single largest unregulated industry in the United States, adoption is viewed as a benevolent action that results in the formation of “forever families.”
The truth is that it is a very lucrative business with a known sales pitch. With profits last estimated at over $1.44 billion dollars a year, mothers who consider adoption for their babies need to be very aware that all of this promotion clouds the facts and only though independent research can they get an accurate account of what life might be like for both them and their child after signing the adoption paperwork.
Why tribes do not recommend the DNA swab
Rebecca Tallbear entitled: “DNA, Blood, and Racializing the Tribe”, bearing out what I only inferred:
Detailed discussion of the Bering Strait theory and other scientific theories about the population of the modern-day Americas is beyond the scope of this essay. However, it should be noted that Indian people have expressed suspicion that DNA analysis is a tool that scientists will use to support theories about the origins of tribal people that contradict tribal oral histories and origin stories. Perhaps more important,the alternative origin stories of scientists are seen as intending to weaken tribal land and other legal claims (and even diminish a history of colonialism?) that are supported in U.S. federal and tribal law. As genetic evidence has already been used to resolve land conflicts in Asian and Eastern European countries, this is not an unfounded fear.
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