On fam­ily

Moose Jaw Times Herald - - OPINION - Lori Deets

Lately, I have been think­ing quite a bit about the ex­pe­ri­ences I have shared with you over the past few months.

I have quite in­ten­tion­ally left out some very im­por­tant peo­ple in my life. I have done this mainly be­cause I wanted to share my own story, my own ex­pe­ri­ences. I do not be­lieve it is ever ap­pro­pri­ate to tell some­one else’s story un­less it is needed or you have per­mis­sion. But the omis­sion of th­ese peo­ple has not meant they have been en­tirely ab­sent from my writ­ing. I feel them there, silently on the side­lines, read­ing my ar­ti­cles, shar­ing, proof­read­ing, en­cour­ag­ing and some­times just silently sup­port­ing.

In the cir­cles I travel, the com­pany I keep, and the fam­ily I love, there is a com­mon theme: non-Indige­nous. Some­times, I too have felt non-Indige­nous. It was at one time in my life very com­mon for peo­ple who have known me for a long time to say ,“Lori, I don’t see you that way!” I have been told that I don’t seem “na­tive.” I have at times been grate­ful to have been seen that way. That is a be­lief I have changed though. I want you to see me now as the proud Cree woman I have be­come. I am no longer ashamed of my her­itage. How­ever, I do con­tinue to find my­self sur­rounded by non-Indige­nous peo­ple.

I have very few Indige­nous fam­ily mem­bers with whom I con­verse reg­u­larly. I have a few co-work­ers and com­mu­nity mem­bers, and my fel­low board mem­bers on the WACA board. Though the Indige­nous peo­ple in my life may be few, they are def­i­nitely mighty. I have been for­tu­nate to meet and get to know many peo­ple who teach and en­cour­age me daily, know­ing in turn I teach and en­cour­age oth­ers.

My cir­cum­stances have shaped and molded me into the per­son I have be­come. While be­ing a child of the Six­ties Scoop comes with its un­fair share of dis­ad­van­tages, I feel I am dis­hon­our­ing those around me if I don’t show you the whole pic­ture. I am for­tu­nate in that I was brought into a sta­ble home. It was not per­fect, but no home is. Be­cause of this home I was given val­ues and be­liefs that have served me well.

I am for­tu­nate that no mat­ter how down and out I have been in my life, when I was ready (tail be­tween my legs) to re­turn home, I did have fam­ily I could call. I am lucky be­cause of that fam­ily. Today when I need it most, I have their ad­mi­ra­tion, love and sup­port.

I have a set of par­ents who have raised me since I was three years old. They have loved me, fed me, grounded me, guided me and have let me live my life. They qui­etly sup­port me in all that I do in life. They don’t judge me. I have the ut­most re­spect for them. That’s how I was raised. It is un­fath­omable for me to think oth­er­wise. We have lived a full life to­gether. They are not blood but they are fam­ily.

My adopted fam­ily comes with a very large, very close, ex­tended fam­ily; I have aunts, un­cles, cousins, sec­ond cousins, third cousins, most of whom walk my jour­ney with me. My fam­ily is def­i­nitely near the top of my grat­i­tude list.

If you read my Six­ties Scoop ar­ti­cle, you know that I strug­gle with be­long- ing. That is a con­cept that is re­ally hard to ar­tic­u­late. It’s like I feel alone in a room full of peo­ple. If you un­der­stand that state­ment, I need not ex­plain fur­ther. If you don’t, you may not strug­gle with be­long­ing and self-worth. Hold on to that, don’t let self-doubt ever get in your way! Even though I have been sur­rounded by fam­ily, I have of­ten felt alone.

While I will never again take away or be­lit­tle my struggles as an Indige­nous woman and sur­vivor of the Six­ties Scoop, I also don’t want to ap­pear the vic­tim. I am no vic­tim. I am def­i­nitely a sur­vivor. The jour­ney has been hard. When I reach a plateau on my jour­ney of life and am able to take a break to catch my breath, I look back at the story of my life. Some­times I laugh, some­times I cringe, and some­times I cry. Al­though there have been very few con­stants in my life the con­stants I do have, have all been fam­ily. My son Alex, my Mom, my Dad and my very large ex­tended fam­ily, if you saw your­selves in this story, that’s be­cause you were there!

Meeg­wetch.

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