How have you been affected by the legacy of residential schools?
My mother being a survivor and through the hardship that she’s encountered, I definitely carry a pain that she carries without the action being [done to] me … but in saying that she has also given me a strength to overcome things in my life.
Because she survived, I feel like I can survive.
Have you participated in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission?
Yes, in Vancouver last year they had that amazing walk. It surprised me. I felt overwhelmed that so many people had come out and heard about the TRC that were non-aboriginal. There were so many mixed cultures that were part of that walk and it was so welcomed.
Because when you’ve gone through something that you feel ashamed for, even though you don’t need to feel ashamed... to be so celebrated by the community was incredible to see.
How do you think the TRC has had an impact?
You’re surrounded by survivors, if you’re indigenous. They’re in your family, they’re your friends, they're your uncles, your aunts, so you can’t dismiss the impact that it has on the communities.
The feeling [at a TRC event] is that you get permission to speak. We [indigenous people] are working on finding our voice and now our voice is getting stronger and we are uniting.
And we are doing that in so many ways – through teaching, through the arts, through journalism, through being advocates in your communities.
I feel that TRC is just a huge voice where people can go and share theirs and it’s so heartbreaking but it's so vital because we are not alone in that pain and that we share it is so necessary.
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