Milk in my 'Aboriginal-Tea', A Note on Self-Love

In 2023, I shared on an Instagram post; 

"Many people will say they are ‘half’ but I am built of layers. Not parts, and not fractions. Colonialism has a very clear intent aiming to divide us, (blood quantum), but when I hear my anaana (mother) share about our Inuit culture, the nuna (land), our ways of being, I love, honour, and respect it with ALL of my heart, not half. I coexist with many dualities as a fair skinned Indigenous person. Always making a joke that there’s a lot of milk in my ‘aboriginal-tea’. But one truth will always be; I am built of layers; not halves."

And today, I wanted to expand on this thought. As a fair skinned Inuk woman, who is also Scottish, I am coming to peace with the many layers of me.

As a young child (6 months until 12 years old), I was a part of the Millennial scoop. Child Protective Services apprehended my nuka (younger sister) and I and we grew up in and out of many foster care homes, to which many, (not all), but many were racist. To give context, it was the 1990’s in rural regions of Ontario, Canada. As a child, I constantly heard comments on my mother’s Indigeneity. Always racist, both overt and covert. Comments that were criticizing, shaming and strongly negative about the identity of my mother. Complete strangers who were supposed to be my "care givers" who were very open to share racist stereotypes, and conjured up who they thought my mother was. But that wasn't all. Then came the comments about me. How lucky I was to “have some white in me.” A decade of racist “care givers” during formative childhood development years absolutely did wonders on me. I was ashamed of being Inuk.  

Fast forward to when I started college and I began proudly reclaiming my Inuk identity.

Suddenly, I carried a different shame. I didn't feel Inuk enough. I wasn’t dark enough. I didn’t grow up on the land. I couldn’t speak the language. I’ll never forget the Land Claims class our professor walked into the room with a cardboard box and said, “I’m about to open Pandora’s box.” He was talking about the Nunavut Agreement, Article 35, Enrolment. 

[When negotiating for Nunavut (our land, in Inuktitut), our people collectively had to decide, “what makes you Inuk?” Our leaders saw what the federal government's purpose of blood quantum was and we didn’t want that. But, then, how would we define who is an Inuk? But that’s another story all together!]

Here we are, today, and I want to acknowledge that self love begins with self acceptance.

I have spent many years escaping who I am through alcohol, drugs, and self destructive behaviors. Through time, patience, mistakes, and growing, I have learned to be sober, sit in my pain and grief, honour my mind, body and spirit and got curious about my shame. I began challenging my views, changing my perspective. I had to clear my path of all the distractions I used to cope with my complex traumas and acknowledge and accept myself for who I am. I am divinely made. Beautiful the way I am. Since I was a child, I have been a bridge of understanding between worlds. Perhaps my layers are not because “I’m not enough”, but rather I am full. 

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