{October 31, 2011}   Aboriginal Cultural Awareness

Today, there are many of us who come from different places in the world.  And when individuals from differing cultural backgrounds interact, there is often miscommunication, misunderstanding, and frustration. 

Growing up, I’d find myself looking at my reflection I saw brown hair, brown eyes, and brown skin. I looked no different than all the others around me. There was never any question of whom or what I was, I was Native. In fact I was an Anishnabe-kwe of the Ojibway tribe, and I belonged to the Beaver clan.

There was not a time in my childhood that I can remember, where my identity, cultural background, or family history was ever questioned.  Just like any other child who grew up or have lived in Canada most of their lives, I grew up going swimming and camping almost every summer. In the winter I made snowmen, had snowball fights and even went sleigh riding.

Growing up, I was never taught to hold ill thoughts or feelings towards others that were not Native. I was taught to be respectful towards all living things, no matter how different.  Racism, prejudice was never a topic of discussion in my household.  None told me that people would call me a drunk just because I was Native, or that non-Native men would try and force themselves on me because I was a Native women and they hear we Native women were easy.

Well, now that I am an adult I have to tell you that there isn’t one comment that I haven’t heard a 101 times before. “Wow, your Native, you don’t have to pay Taxes do you?” “I hear that Native people have the largest incarceration rate inCanada?” “Why are Native people drunks?” The list of questions could go on.

So here, now I stand, looking back on my life and it not being anything like that of which society has been told about or has been made to perceive about Native people to be like. I know and understand who I am and where I come from.  I am Native, in fact I’m an Anishnabe-kwe of the Ojibway tribe, and I belonged to the Beaver clan.

I figure, I have one of two choices: one I can break down and accept my fate based on the perceptions of non-Native people. That I’ll never amount to anything, that all I’ll remain as a Native person is an uneducated, drunken Native person who’s just lazy and wants a free ride from the Canadian Government.  

But, I choose the lather; I’m going to Stands with Pride, with every ounce of strength and all the pride I have as a Native person to change these ignorant and uneducated perceptions of Native people.

I believe these obstacles can be overcome by assisting and encouraging all parties to be more culturally sensitive. It is important for people to recognize how cultural backgrounds affect individual perceptions and actions; and how cultural awareness can improve the relationship between people from differing cultural backgrounds.



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