For this evening, at Lakehead University, I will once again stand and move in my jingle dress as I pray for the healing of those that will hear my words, healing for those tarnished (or worse) by a Canadian history that many have yet to hear, healing as I speak to my Kwe experience.
As always, I will not speak for all Kwe, for one of the lessons that I will deliver is that we are as unique as the snowflakes, the rain, the river systems, or the autumn leaves. We are unique yet tied together in so many ways.
Tied. How sadly perfect a descriptor.
For tonight I will speak of the fight – the fight to develop a voice that we grew up thinking we didn’t have the right to have, then the fight to find the courage to use it.
Tonight I will speak of the search – the search for those who understand, the search for “safe places”, the search for Indigenous Only places, the search for home.
Tonight I will speak of the disrespect and unwanted touches, the seeming inability of those of fairer skin to hear our “No’s”, the fact that age does not diminish the number of battles.
And I will speak to the multitude of unfought battles, the micro-aggressions, the eye rolls and upturned noses that confront us daily, the battles we walk away from even as they wound us because we have kids to feed and jobs to do and sanctuary to find.
Yes, tonight I will share the voice I have found so perhaps the journey will grow a little easier for the Indigenous women my audience will encounter tomorrow. Perhaps tomorrow they will choose to shut down another hurling racial slurs, they will comment on the ignorance of the eye roll by the sales clerk, they will do something.
And maybe they won’t.
But tonight, I will by sharing my Kwe experience.
The journey continues …
Be kind today my friend. Smile at a Kwe. Be a safe place or if nothing else, one less battle in her day.