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Jack Sinclair

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 done.

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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