Disclaimer: This is a sit and consider post, as this one requires contemplation to truly “get”. So please, do not go to judgement. Instead, strive to understand.
Colonization, assimilation, oppression – what a tangled web you weave for those trying (desperately in some cases) to escape your grasp.
There are the indigenous prejudiced and/or out and out discriminating against their own. These people are often found immaculately dressed as they try to fit in with the dominant culture, desperately trying to prove their worth, that they are not “indigenous like those others”.
Do not judge them. Ask yourself instead, “Why?”
Were they sick of the treatment they saw? Were they fearful? Did they believe “if only? Why?
Then there are indigenous who like the first group have always been horribly racist against their own, but in this case it was because they were trying (subconsciously more often than not) to distance themselves from that one relative that just looked a little too indigenous. These people can “pass” so they loudly condemn the indigenous of all nations, to make sure no one guesses they may be one of them.
The tides change however when policy changes, awarding them a status card. Sadly, they bring a non-indigenous worldview with them, an extraction mentality, as they try to get all they can without ever looking at all they have said and done in the past. Their focus is only on “the benefits” without ever taking a second to understand or support those who have paid the price.
There are indigenous who have worked hard to be proud, yet still hesitant when amongst the dominant culture.
And then there are those, usually much older, who just know who they are. They know their value and no longer care which box others attempt to put them in.
Such is the tangled web of healing. Resist judgement at every turn. Instead, do as my mother often suggested. When observing someone you do not understand, ask yourself, “How scared would I have to be, how overwhelmed, how isolated would I have to be to make me choose to act in such a way?”
When you have the answer, you have officially moved closer to understanding the history this country was built on and the results of that history, a mentality alive and well in modern day, still hurting, still inflicting pain on those trying to heal.
The journey continues …
I love you!
Sandi is a Proud Indigenous Speaker, Author, Entrepreneur