Raising a child off-reserve, I often think about how she is going to walk through this world. Don’t get me wrong – all of what is currently known as Canada is Indigenous land. Growing up Urban will not and does not make her less Indian. I’m raising a Dene warrior, no matter if she walks on cement or grass.
I remembered that I come from people who are storytellers. Artists. Lovers. Foolish friends and mischievous family. We are drenched in the survival and reclamation of generations past, and by our very act of breathing, laughing, loving - we are claiming our rightful space for our descendants. We are here.
Not too much has changed in how we celebrate Christmas nowadays. Our families have grown. Between snags and sweeties, life long partners and broken hearts, we have built up our family enough that Mom's house is now much like Grandma Boyer's house was back in the day - full of laughter and food, cousins and stories.
But slowly, slowly, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t feel the joy. I couldn’t feel the passion. I felt… grey. Nothing. Absent. I went through the motions and denied that anything was wrong. Or I would sigh and shake my head, because even if something was wrong, there was nothing anyone could do to “fix it.”
I've been photographing my Northern Grads going onto my seventh summer. I have worked in Beauval, Patuanak, Meadow Lake, Birch Narrows, Prince Albert, Rosthern and North Battleford. I have worked with my Métis, Dene and Cree kids while laughing at thick accents and the massive amount of family members that show up for 'immediate family only' images.