“For example, Elders, knowledge keepers and cultural practitioners need to follow a good way of life.”
I have passages like this highlighted from within the one page introduction of Cultural Teachings: First Nations Protocols and Methodologies” a book compiled by the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre I had to read for my INDIG 304 class. This particular phrase I had to underline was “need to follow a good way of life” and I had to start this entry with it.
I wonder but not enough to ask, what does it mean to non-indigenous people when they hear Indigenous people say their spiritual people follow a good way of life because they don’t drink alcohol, when their priests swear to God by it.
I ask this question because I never knew a life without alcohol and I never thought I didn’t have to have alcohol in my life because alcohol is very much a part of the French culture from which I am half of.
It is in my blood.
My ancestors made it.
It must be part of me.
And I lived in that world through my daily education in settler society.
I grew up thinking I was a shape-shifter. I could walk between worlds and no one could see me or stop me.
I was Half-Breed.
No one could divide me because I was constructed by the blood of both.
It didn’t occur to me that the older sqilxw girls picked on me because my dad was a
It didn’t occur to me that the Black South African librarian might have thought even himself better than a native grade three xixutem – little girl, but when a man refuses to let a child go to the bathroom and makes her sit in her pee to complete math… I know now that is why I hate math.
But how dare he.
I’m half white.
Didn’t he know who my Father was?
I don’t want to tell people I’m half white anymore. There is no point no one sees it in me anyway. I learned all the customs, protocols, policies and procedures of my Fathers people. I learned how to live in their world, in multiple levels of their world and there is no higher source, there is no peace for the Consumers.
They thought I was First Nation.
They thought because my hair and my eyes were dark brown I was an
I said but I’m White too…
I wondered why they shunned me.
Why they couldn’t see the white.
The other sqilxw did.
I am neither.
These labels do not apply to me anymore.
I questioned them
And questioned their kind, those who were white unlike me.
They wouldn’t listen
They couldn’t hear what I had to say for all the wool they filled their ears and eyes with. They refused to understand and built policies and procedures to detach us from our way of life.
So they could forget.
And pray the Half-Breed exists
No halfbreed more
I am sqilxw
The word speaks to the protocol
and the methodology that raised me
I reclaim me.
Sqilxw – N’syilxcen – Tmwula7xw
The words that come from my mouth are changing.
The blood that rushes through is changing, like the atoms finally reversed and realized something is wrong within it’s settler DNA. The language I write is blending, like my soul made a call and the ancestors answered. Lorenzo Ghiberti took me to the baptistery and showed me their sin and my Granny took me to the mountain to clean it off.