Native Stereotypes

(I drafted this blog May 27. I added one extra paragraph)

I had the good fortune to listen to CBC RadioOne last week on my drive home. I had just finished a therapy session and as per usual was on a positive high. Reaffirming my right to protecting my own safety as I have been having my personal boundaries violated by people in my life. Some sadly – very close to my heart. This radio show made me think about the many times I’ve been affected by stereotypes, internal and external inflicted judgements. They all contribute to a turmoil that has existed deep within. It started at a young age. The first trauma I ever remember was inflicted by a white middle aged man. So ya, I’ve been affected by some stuff.

And Yeah that’s right I go to therapy. It’s not a dirty secret or anything, I get to talk with someone who is trained to listen with intent to uncover. It reminds me that I do not have to internalize other people’s judgements and encourages me to lessen the stigmas and stereotypes I’ve internalized on my own. It dissipates internalized judgements that my emotions are wrong and give voice to my authority over self rather than allowing others to expect me to ‘think about them’ when they continue to violate my personal boundaries. Therapy helps to examine the situation and affirms that my internal intuitions are working and not doubt their honest intention.

I am an empathetic person. I have many passions, many interests and I thrive on being involved in my community, engaging in positive change to ensure the future generations feel confident and safe within this passive aggressive place called North America. I love speaking with like minded people, people who want and believe we individuals can change the world. Their energy motivates my passions, gives me the energy to preserver. I am an Indigenous empathetic woman who gives everything to her community. People know they can ask me and I will help. That’s just my nature. I like to help often to a fault. I am open to ideas and suggestions. If someone says we should do this and I like the idea, it’s pretty likely I will engage. I will give 100% to everything, until I realize I am being taken for granted. It happens a lot.

Sadly personality types like mine get taken advantage of. Manipulative passive aggressive pity me behaviour can deeply affect an individual who wants to help, especially when said individual is already marginalized by societal stereotypes and stigma. As an Indigenous woman I have been marginalized on every level. I’m not ‘full native’ I have French Canadian blood but I have little contact with that side. I was raised Okanagan, with an Okanagan mother, next door to an Okanagan grandmother.

My early influences were all Okanagan with the exception of my father, who to me at the time did not seem much different than the other dads on the reserve. He played stick games, he was the announcer at all the ball games. He banged the drum loudest at all the hockey tournaments. He fit in as far as I could tell. I didn’t think I was that different from anyone because I was half of everyone. And I honestly believed I was a true Canadian. I was half French/Half Native with a hint of English Settler. That is the formula for a real Canadian, these three mixed together. Technically I should have been able to walk equally in both worlds. And then I realized quickly, it doesn’t matter how much white a person has in them. If they look native, they’re Native and that’s it.

If we look at history, when non brown people make a decision, they force it until it is. And they insist their way is the right way. They fake innocence for their ignorance and racism. They cry foul when they help you in ways you don’t need help. It’s tiring, old, boring and I’m over it.

And now, I’ve decided I would be done with it. I decided whenever people would say “the natives” I would reply with “the whites”. I decided whenever someone would complain about the natives taking the rights of others away I recite the birth of this Country and how it really IS. I decided to fight fire with fire and mirror ignorance back to some and educate everyone. A long time ago decided I would make people aware via my online social networks. Do you see how your constant static distractions ‘kitty videos’, vines, youtube, Facebook mindless chatter drown out the individual voice? Do you hear yourself when you say “why does she always have to talk about that stuff” What? Native stuff? Why does a Native want to talk about Native stuff all the time? Why do you want to talk about stupid meaningless crap all the time? Because apparently saving what’s left of the Earth from total destruction for future generations is just a native thing to ignorant people. And apparently it’s ok that the government treats everyone like shit now but it’s not fair that the natives have treaties and Inherent rights for being of this land. No the natives are lazy because they get everything for free and the simple cost of an entire way of life…But the underlying truth is you’re just jealous because your ancestors stole all the good land and sold it before you were born.

I’m done pretending to fit in. I’m done faking conversations with consumed people.

And I’m done being nice about it.

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