Not A Monolith

On the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in 2021, I wrote:

Indigenous peoples within Canada are not a monolith. Inuit experienced acculturation, and had attended Residential/Federal Day Schools much later than other Indigenous peoples of Canada. Pauktuutit (1996) gives insight to this period: 

The first government- regulated school for Inuit opened in 1951 in Chesterfield Inlet. After 1950, when Inuit became settlement based, almost all Inuit children were required to attend Residential Schools or federal hostels in order to receive a formal education. These schools were often far away from the new Inuit settlements which resulted in the separation of children and youth from their parents, kinship networks and traditional ways of life [...] Inuit language, culture and spiritual beliefs were eroded as a result of the assimilation process.

My anaana (mother) was the first in her family to attend a Federal Day school as a child. My grandparents grew up on the land, travelling by dog sled, and hunting for their meals.

Truth and Reconciliation means that I honour my anaana, and reflect on the experience she went through. I also reflect upon my own upbringing as a direct result of the churches, and Canada’s policies. My anaana was ashamed to teach me Inuktitut, for she was beaten and told not to speak her language as a very young child. My anaana’s trauma was a very large stepping stone to her additions, and my nuka (younger sister) and I being placed into the Child Protective Services until I was 12 years old. 

During our times in and out of dozens and dozens of foster care homes, we were placed with Anglicans, Catholics, Christians, and Mennonites. When parents loose their children to colonial systems that believe their way of raising children is the only viable way, it is a direct extension of the purpose of Residential Schools. Intergenerational trauma means that I am grieving for all the loss of culture and language that resulted in me feeling like an outsider in my own skin. 

Reconciliation means acknowledging that direct policies and intent were meant to assimilate Indigenous peoples into the "Canadian society" away from their cultures for our lands

Canada wanted to be a Nation through the erasure of Indigenous languages, cultures and histories. 

Truth means acknowledging the attempted genocide of Indigenous peoples.

Using Format