So today's post might be a little depressing, but I am not going to pretend to be ecstatic while writing the post.. so last week I had a pretty rough couple days... This term, I am taking a Native Studies class to better understand my culture, in order for me to really call myself a Treaty. I realize that I do not look Treaty at all, and that I did not grow up in a Treaty family, but a Métis family. I did not go to pow-wows, feasts, or any type of Aboriginal event growing up and so this is all pretty new to me, even though, I have been calling myself a "registered Treaty" my whole life, I just do not think its fair.
Anyway, in this Native Studies class we are learning about how the Aboriginals used to live in the past, how they live in the present and how their lives will be in the future. I realize that there were many conflicts between the Aboriginal culture and the non-Aboriginal culture that surrounded them.
In one class, the professor decided to show us a movie, "We Were Children," and although this film is very sad and quite shocking, I highly recommend it. This movie shows us how the Aboriginal People were treated, and this comes as a shock. I must say, at the beginning at the movie, I wasn't really feeling anything, that was until the movie really began. We were shown how children were being taken away from their families, little kids having to leave their parents and living in Residential Schools, somewhere so uniform, where they could not act as children. The children were stripped of their clothing and they had to where a uniform, everyone's hair was cut the same way, and they had strict rules to follow. The Aboriginal children could not speak their native language, they were so little and confused, they didn't know what was going on.
There were also scenes showing the sexual abuse towards the Aboriginal children, not only were they being sexually abused, they were being abused by priests, by people whom they were supposed to listen to. I cannot imagine how confusing it must have been and how terrified the children must have been. This specific topic of the movie, one of the main ones, was absolutely shocking, and I was scared. At one point in the class, I had to leave, for one thing I couldn't handle watching the movie, it was too much. As I left the classroom, walking in the creepy hallway of the University, it felt like I couldn't hear my surroundings, like my sense of where, what, who, was gone. I was petrified and as I was walking, I started walking faster and faster, looking over my shoulders, and was beginning to breathe louder. I realized at that moment, that sexual abuse can happen at any time, it could very well happen to me in that hallway, there was no one in sight, the lights were dimmed down, and all I kept thinking was that I needed air.
As I was walking to my bus stop, I was getting more and more anxious, and was almost in tears. When I reached the bus stop, I could no longer hold in the tears and started to tear up, I went inside the building and started bawling. I don't mean like a little soft tear down my cheek, I mean a full of waterfall. I didn't know why I was crying and felt like I needed to get it together.... there were people around and I just could not stop. I finally realized that I needed a hug and needed to talk to someone, thankfully, a friend of mine was willing to listen to me. I explained a brief summary of what I am saying right now, but basically was so embarassed. I felt so embarassed that I was crying in front of all of these people.
When I was crying, I kept thinking about a friend of mine, whom, over the past summer, had explained to me that he had had a rough childhood, and how he was sexually abused as a child. I kept thinking about how I can't even imagine how he must have felt, and how traumatic this event was to him. I have family members who have also had an abusive life, or even a traumatic life, and I was just thinking about everyone who suffered. I just felt bad.
Children were dying because they were not eating properly, and I didn't blame them for not wanting to eat the food. The children were used to eating their native foods and it was extremely saddening to see that they couldn't enjoy the berries, and foods they were used to.
Anyway, I am sorry that this post is not a happy, peppy post, but I just needed to get it off my chest.
Lots of Love