Being proud of who you are and where you
come from isn't always easy. Sometimes it's hard
to know who you are as an individual when you're part
of the larger group called 'teenager'.
I know some basics about myself and I try
to keep it simple. I'm Jack, I'm a Plains Cree
Indian and I'm proud of who I am and where I come from.
I always try to speak my mind and not be afraid of what people
think about me... sometimes that's easier said than
I'm just getting to know my little
sister Crystal. She and I lived apart most of our lives. We
shared each other's identity, yet we didn't even
know what that meant until now. Crystal's getting used
to having me around, but she's not comfortable acknowledging
her heritage, so she's created a bubble zone for us
at school – the area in which I am to never pass through,
so no one can identify us as being brother and sister or her
as being Indian. She's 'avoiding' mentioning
her Cree heritage, and I'm having a tough time accepting
her decision to lie about who she is.
Crystal's worried about being labelled
a 'Native Expert' and I understand to a degree.
She doesn't want to be expected to know everything there
is no know about her ancestry. For example, take Oscar Cherniak
who is a mix of about 3 different heritages, with his last
name reflecting a Eastern European ancestry (Ukrainian, I
think). Nobody expects him to be the 'expert'
on Eastern Europe, with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the
geography, history and culture of Eastern Europe (even though
he probably could since he's a really smart guy). I
mean, we're all Canadian and most of us come from a
patchwork of identities, all of which influence us and make
us part of the Global Community of life. That's what
keeps it interesting.
I try really hard to be proud of
who I am and where I come from, but I also try to see people
as people first and not classify them based on their culture,
creed or race. Isn't making generalizations about people
the way stereotypes start? And I still worry that while Crystal
is busy trying to be something she's not, she may end
up losing herself along the way.
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