For those that know me, they know that once I get my knickers in a knot I'm a fireball looking for a target. Well, I tied my knickers up all by myself right good and the fireball target is ME. I'm gonna share with you my learning experience.
I felt like the ignorant redneck from the back woods of some place really back wood-sy. You know what I mean. During supper today, I was sitting beside two Aboriginal Women and I realized that I know absolutely nothing about their history, their culture or the discrimination they've experienced. Not only didn't I know anything, but I'm so backwood-dumb-ass-redneck that I didn't even know how to ask the questions to start the conversation and to learn from these two ladies. I'm sure they thought I was putting them on when I asked them to explain something to me. It was like when someone outside Canada asks us if we live in Igloos because they don't even know we are a fully developed country. Yip, that's me. The ignorant goober. I didn't want to offend her by referring to them incorrectly, so I asked if the correct wording was Aboriginal or Natives. She was explaining that it's different by region. I mentioned we have MicMac in New Brunswick and I got lost from there. I was trying to understand how the different Nations are organized. So I asked if Mi'kmaq was like being Irish or.... Not a good question. Actually, it was a pretty bad question and a pretty stupid question and she let me know, I'm telling you. Not in a mean or hurtful way but in a way, let me try to relate it to something else we can easily understand - like when you say to your son of 7 years old, that he likes the girl next door and ask if he was going to marry her when he grows up. He peers at you in utter disgust because she has coodies and that's just gross. So, comparing an Aboriginal person to anything "white" is like asking your son if he's gonna marry the coody invested gross girl. She doesn't see the world through the rose colored glasses I've always worn, oblivious to Indigenous people. The Lone Ranger & Tonto were NOT good depictions of the real world but are the only images I had. Shame on me. When she corrected me and rebuked my way of relating anything Aboriginal in the European Colonialism of hierarchical measures, I felt the sting of being shame. I could almost hear her inner voice calling me a stupid white woman and I deserved it to be said out loud. First, I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about and I'm sure I haven't stated it here clearly, and second because I knew I'd stuck my big old foot right down my pie hole. In no was was she rude or abrasive but I was just plain dumb. How can I live in Canada and not now our Parliament and Supreme Court are built right over agent burial grounds? How could I not know that the Treaties signed between the THEIR land, our government made promises that had no expiry?
Thank you Grace & Tracy for giving me a wake up call that I promise the next time we meet, I will not be the dumb, redneck too clueless to converse with you. Thank you, ladies for this opportunity to grow as a person!!