When I was a grade school student, our history books were made up of, how Columbus discovered America, about the pyramids and about the wars in other countries. But one subject I don’t ever recall seeing in the history books was, this history of the North American Native. Maybe there was a little bit of history but nothing that made an impact on my young mind at the time. And more so, not a word do I recall about the Canadian Native Man, Woman and Child.
We are not born with the knowledge of the world, the history, nor are we born with the knowledge of the arts, poets or writers. Everything we know to date is taught to us and when we are children, our fresh mind absorbs all the knowledge like a sponge and little do we forget, especially the knowledge of different things regarding any subject that made a great impact. When I think of myself as a child, one thing I would of enveloped would have been about my own country and heritage. ——
I will be open and honest to say that I as an individual did not know I was of native decent till I was in my early teens. So how could I before that even think about something I knew not of? I know what you’re asking… Why?.. How come I did not know I was native till that late in my childhood. I didn’t know the answer to that question until I read a letter my father wrote to me after I had children of my own. And there was one line in there, that broke my heart. He was apologizing to me in the letter about, love, not being something that was said or felt more in our family home and that was his fault and his mistake. But the greatest heartbreak for me was when he said..
“ I made a lot of mistakes in my life, the 1st was being born a native..”
This coming from the mouth of a man who was a jack of so many trades.. A butcher, a business owner, a paralegal, a realestate broker and the greatest, yet at times the hardest job of all, a father.
As time went on, my children grew, my father aged and so many things happened in our lives. .. That comment kept haunting me to a degree. Why didn’t my father inform me years before my teen years about my heritage? Why did he not teach me about my heritage? Why was I not learning about my heritage in the school history books?
As years went on, that comment broke my heart each time I read that letter or recall the letter. I questioned my own worth. If Dad was not proud of himself and I being half of my father, should I also not be proud of who I am or who he is? So many questions for a child, especially when they were not being answered, by anyone, anywhere.
To date, I am still learning so much about my heritage and I embrace it with open mind, heart and arms. I have learnt much about it in the past 18 years and will continue to learn and understand. And in doing so, I am learning, exactly why my father, did not want to say he was a native man.
Here is some history to get educated with regards and then one can catch up to speed with current events.
Hidden from History:
The Canadian Holocaust
Events form 1857 to 2003
Life with Dad was not easy and once I began to understand where he was coming from, my heart went out to him. The Canadian Government can never give enough money to mend that broken man after what he went through, as a child put into a residential school and living in a world where he was made to feel unworthy of life and dirty.
Yes he is my father and I am his daughter, and even though he has passed over, I will for the rest of my day, defend his honour, for I am proud to say, I am my Ojibwa father’s Ojibwa daughter…
Cynthia Louise Solomon!!
Today in the school system, I know there is, native language classes, but I have not looked into whether there is the history is being taught yet. And if it was.. Please tell me this.. Would that child who just left native language or native history class go home to parents who have empathy for the native peoples of this country? Parents who were not educated and still see the native man, woman or child as someone less than them?
( Face off during the Oka Crisis – This is probably Canada’s most famous picture. The Oka Crisis was a land dispute between the Mohawk nation and the town of Oka, Quebec which began on March 11, 1990, and lasted until September 26, 1990. It resulted in three deaths)