Thursday, September 24, 2009

Part 2

I can't answer him right now. I have had a hard day, too many decisions being made today. This is not supposed to be my life. Why am I overanalyzing and truly giving a rats ass?
I can remember when I was little, I would tell my mom about my perfect grown-up life. The wedding would be fairytale like. A huge flowy wedding dress, beaded and silky, a tiny tiara holding up my veil. The whole thing would take place in a large cathedral with tons of people there. Funny how I never really thought about who all these people were, much less that I was getting married in a church by a priest, something which 8 year old me struggled with daily. My groom would be someone who adored me, he would be tall, dark and handsome. The exact likeness of the prince in Cinderella, blue jacket, white pants and all. I would be ripped back to reality when my mother would ask how I was going to pay for this lavish affair. I would answer with "isn't that where you come in". She answered "no" every time, and every time I would tell her she would not be invited then. Funny how when it came time to getting married, I actually thought back to that and did not want to go back on my word of not inviting her. She laughed when I told her this and she said she'd find out and disrupt the wedding anyway.

I was 10 when I discovered I had to marry an Indian guy or lose my status. How absurd is that? It's the 1980s, not the 1880s this was still a law. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) policy was "that if a native woman married a non-native man, she would lose her status". If a native man married a non-native woman it was perfectly fine. The non-native woman could even apply for Indian status without having an inkling of blood quantum. I was furious at this. I think this is when my crusade for urban Indians began, but I can't be sure. My first letter to INAC was written when I was 10. I wanted them to know how they were messing with my self esteem and my impressionable young mind. Were these not the 80s, when women were taking to the workforce, becoming captains of industry as well as the perfect homemaker. They could do it all. But as an Indian woman I could not have it all. My love life was being dictated by some bureaucrat. You're probably thinking "no it wasn't". But yes it kind of was. For me to honor my heritage and be true to my family, I would have to marry another indian. I do have to admit, my young mind wandered and likened the romance to once again a fairytale, where the princess had to marry someone of nobility, leaving behind her true love, who would come in and profess his love during the ceremony and then they would run off and live happily ever after. In the late 80s the law was changed, and all the women who had lost their status due to marriage could apply to get it back. But nothing happened to the non-native women who were now still carrying around their tribal status cards. They got to stay indian, and what about their kids? How does the math work on their blood quantum? I don't think it matters, since according to INAC I am 80% indian and my younger sister is 60%? They are bureaucrats after all and not mathematicians.

My childhood fantasy also included two children, twins of course, a boy and a girl so I could have my perfect family all at once and only have to suffer through the pain of labor once. (I would only realize later in life that I could pay someone to endure the imperfections of pregnancy). But now as an adult, I really don't want to do it. First off, I'm too old, my mother had me at a young age and I liked our proximity in age. Secondly, I am way too selfish, and lastly I don't want my child to be less indian. I have this hidden sense of indian pride that peeks its head out on occaision.

When I was younger and dating, I always envisioned what my kids would look like with whomever I was dating at the moment. Their blood quantum never entered into my thoughts. They were just bundles of joy from this perfect union. But when the reality of it's status hit me, my ex didn't like me very much. I knew I was doomed when I awoke feeling nautious. What was I going to do? I could not bring a baby into this world? It would be 1/2 of 80, then their children would be 1/2 of that and so on, and soon any glimmer of indianness and heritage would be gone.

I stared at the old man contemplating the actions of my day and he just stared back, still waiting for my answer. "Vic, I'll have another".

Questions:
Do you understand the last part and did she have the baby?"
If she was still pregnant and drinking would you like her less?
Did she have an abortion. would you like her less?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Canadian Thanksgiving

The history of Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to an explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Orient.  Having landed in the Baffin Islands, in the year 1578, he held a formal ceremony to give thanks for surviving the long journey. The feast was one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in North America, although celebrating the harvest and giving thanks for a successful bounty of crops had been a long-standing tradition throughout North America.  First Nations and Native Americans throughout the Americas, organized harvest festivals, ceremonial dances, and other celebrations of thanks for centuries prior to the arrival of Europeans in North America.
During this time, French settlers, having crossed the ocean and arrived in Canada with explorer Samuel de Champlain, also held huge feasts of thanks. They even formed 'The Order of Good Cheer and gladly shared their food with their First Nations neighbours.

Thanksgiving days were observed beginning in 1799 but did not occur every year. After the American Revolution, American refugees who remained loyal to Great Britain moved from the United States and came to Canada. They brought the customs and practices of the American Thanksgiving to Canada. The first Thanksgiving Day after the Canadian Confederation was observed as a civic holiday on April 5, 1872 to celebrate the recovery of the Prince of Wales from a serious illness.
Starting in 1879 Thanksgiving Day was observed every year but the date was proclaimed annually and changed year to year. The theme of the Thanksgiving holiday also changed year to year to reflect an important event to be thankful for. In the early years it was for an abundant harvest and occasionally for a special anniversary.

After WWI, both Remembrance Day and Thanksgiving were celebrated on the Monday of the week in which November 11 occurred. Ten years later, in 1931, the two days became separate holidays.  On January 31, 1957, the Canadian Parliament proclaimed:
"A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed … to be observed on the 2nd Monday in October."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Helper?

With all this writing and ideas popping into my head, I need something to help me keep everything in check. It's wonderful how, as much as things progress we always long for things we once had.