Métis an­ces­try is a source of pride

Times Colonist - - Comment -

Re: “Ev­ery Indige­nous per­son is Indige­nous enough,” col­umn, Dec. 30. Thank you, Charla Hu­ber, for your col­umn.

At the age of 10 when I moved to Vic­to­ria from Man­i­toba, I told a girl that I was Métis and she called me a deroga­tory word, one I had never heard be­fore.

Af­ter that ex­pe­ri­ence, I de­cided to iden­tify as English/Scot­tish (my fa­ther’s her­itage) and be­sides, my skin is fair and freck­led.

Be­cause of the light­ness of my skin, I get var­ied re­ac­tions from peo­ple when I iden­tify as Métis. Some are kind, some have no clue what Métis is or don’t be­lieve me un­til I show them my card.

I have even seen a re­tired woman make rope-hang­ing ges­tures to mock Louis Riel, af­ter telling her my great (times three) grand­fa­ther Ro­main Lag­i­modiere was Louis Riel’s un­cle and one of his pall­bear­ers.

Dur­ing the Riel Re­bel­lion, many of my an­ces­tors had to leave the Red River Val­ley, and those who stayed were per­se­cuted. One of my an­ces­tors was al­most killed, but sur­vived by jump­ing into the Red River af­ter his house was raided and fam­ily as­saulted.

One Métis mem­ory I have as a child is my grand­fa­ther trac­ing the Métis In­fin­ity flag on my arm to re­mind me: “It’s in our blood.”

I am proud to be Métis, but for a very long time I wasn’t. I come from the “We don’t talk about it” gen­er­a­tion and firmly be­lieve in the old English proverb: “You don’t know where you’re go­ing un­til you know where you’ve been.” Ken­dall Arnold Sooke

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.