I just found out how my sister Joy died. It wasn’t pretty. I can’t say I’m necessarily surprised, but I am sad and angry. She did some terrible things. She abandoned her 5 children. She drank and did drugs. But she also had horrible things done to her. And I just can’t help but think that Joy and my Dad are examples of the terrible legacy of Canada’s treatment of Native people.
Some would argue that all the things that happened to them can happen to white people. And that’s true. But I know they both felt the ‘burden’ of their race. And while I may have never felt it myself, I felt the trickle down effects from them and what happened to them. It’s been hundreds of years and the history of the treatment of native people in this country affects even people like me, who is essentially white. But my family is not.
And every time I pass an intoxicated, homeless, native person on the street I see my Dad and my sister. They are not blameless, but they are my family.