It was amazing to listen to my friends laugh and joke around in te reo Māori (the Māori language) and never apologizing if I didn’t know what they were saying. It made me want to learn my Dene language.
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.
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.”