Day 48 – She Didn’t Say “Teach”

I am awake, I am alive, and as the final review of my next book continues, I cannot help but love what I am sharing this time, the best of three years in time and in so many ways, the best of me.

Case in point – the following …
I was pondering a last-minute talk I have been asked to give on Friday, pondering what I would say about the differences between those of Indigenous descent and those raised with Euro-Canadian views and values.

One such difference I see come up often is the difference in concern between “I” and “we”. Whereas European values seem to have an individual focus, many Indigenous nations instead focus on the other, the student, the next 7 generations and so on.

This becomes evident in those that carry teachings. Someone tainted by colonialism (and truth be told, all Indigenous have been to varying degrees), brags of his knowledge, his sacred items, of just how much he can “teach”.

However, an Indigenous man or woman who has held on to our world views and values would never want the focus on them. Instead, they focus on what the student needs, helping those who have asked for help to find the answers on their own.

This thought process led me to the grammatical English rules of “teach” and “learn” and the revelation that “teach” is all about the teacher and “learn” is all about the receiver.

And that is when it hit me so hard that I had to pull over to let tears fall.

She never said “teach”.
My Mother never used the word “teach”.

She would ask what we learned at school on any given day. She didn’t mean math or history. She was asking what we learned about people, relationships, or ourselves. And she would often say, “Go talk to (whomever). They will learn you”.

It breaks my heart to know that thanks to a western education, I corrected by own Mom, a woman trying to use the language of another culture, one that didn’t fit her values.

And I corrected her!!

My Mom, like so many I know, was focused on the student. There wasn’t an egotistical bone in her body, and she wasn’t about to let some grammar rule change who she was.

I sat there yesterday on the side of the road, hating on an education system that had me looking down on my own Mother. Education has long been weaponized to split Indigenous families and I see now that little has changed. Today, kids will go to school. They will learn math and science, but nowhere will they receive aid to help them understand their parents’ challenges. They won’t learn or understand their parents’ lack of education, their unemployment, and what that does to a soul. They won’t understand the roots of addictions, or the multitude of other things Indigenous parents have been burdened with by a country dripping white supremacy.

Instead, they will learn shame and embarrassment over who their parents are, and the wedge will begin to separate child from parent as assimilation whispers, “Join us”.

I was left thinking that any education that divides families must be condemned and abandoned.

I was also left with the realization that my Mom was so multi-faceted, so amazingly authentic, so beautifully complicated that even years after her passing, I am still realizing just how beautiful she truly was.

As I shed colonial interpretations, restrictions and judgments, her essence, beauty and smile just grow even more memorable. She isn’t fading in time. Rather it just took this long for me to shed enough blinders to finally truly see her.

The journey continues.

I love you.


#ibelieveinyou #ibelieveinme #celebrateandsurvive #repairingfeathers #icreatespace #icreatesafespace