This is probably why I am all for selfies – I think we have spent enough time being told to bow our heads, to be silent, to not take up space. Love songs are written about how women don’t know they’re beautiful, as if realizing our beauty is the single greatest flaw we could have. As if we are only beautiful if affirmation comes from someone else. Fuck dat.
A night of dancing on Granville with an insta-queen and now real-life friend. We bonded over 90's hiphop and perusing a late-night sex shop. Getting lost on Burnaby mountains and shopping makeup, sipping sangria and sharing stories of men, family, and dreams. Eating tacos and getting lit at 11 AM, thick accents on point as we laughed and teared up, mourning and celebrating in the moment, like Indigenous women do. And finally, pasta and poetry shared on an adventure of lost restaurants, a decade's worth of friendship, and planning the next sleepover.
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.
Unlike most other travellers I met, I was Indigenous, and although not Indigenous to the lands I was trekking, I could identify and relate my Indigeneity to the contexts I found myself in. These countries I visited all have long and complex histories of colonial rule, war, and trauma, which I was able to connect to and empathize with due to similar colonial history and traumas within my blood and ancestral land.