Excerpts from a journal owned by a Cree Woman born in 1823

1838

Why would my father do this to me? Why would he give me away as if I was some possession to behold? I am a 15 year old girl, a human being. I understand it is supposed to aid trade relations, but must our people depend on marriage to pursue peace with the Europeans? We were here first! We should not be oppressed by the people that came hoping to share our land. The Europeans have made us a minority within our own land and now, my tribe has shown me that I am a minority within my own kind. They believe I need a man to cope, to survive; but, I am strong, independent, and in need of no man. If anything, this man needs me. A new fur trader like him? He doesn’t know the land and its secrets, the animals and their habits… He should feel lucky that I will be there to help him. If he tries to abuse the power he may think he has over me, good luck.

 

Early 1840

While trading, my husband enjoys to talk with the local villagers and town folk. Travelling as much as we do makes it hard for us to keep up to date with everything that is happening. Just today I overheard them talking about the Durham Report. Apparently, it was reported that, in Durham’s opinion, French people must be assimilated into British culture in order for them to have a chance of survival within this British colony. Unbelievable! I have been with the French traders for the last two years and from what I can see, the French are plenty capable of sustaining their culture in this Anglo-Saxon America. It was also suggested that English be made the only official language. I already needed to learn French in order to communicate with my husband, I don’t need to learn another language on top of that. That would make three! There are rumors of a union act that will make English our only official language as well as unite Upper and Lower Canada. From what I’ve heard from my husband’s conversations, the only thing this union act will do is guarantee that Canada stays within Britain’s power. Canada should be allowed to have a chance to try on its own, without Britain swaying its decisions towards the supposed “right choices”. We should be allowed a chance at independence. I’m not saying we must cut our ties with Britain completely, all I am saying is why can we not be independent together?

 

Late 1843

At three years old, our daughter can be very adventurous and without the inhibitions that common sense and experience give us. This can be very dangerous, especially with us still travelling and trading. I feel as though I cannot take my eyes off of her for a single second.  I am constantly telling her things like “Be careful!”, “Don’t eat that!”, and “You shouldn’t be doing that!” This got me thinking and I started to see similarities between me and Britain. I start to connect my actions to those of British people. Just as I parent my daughter, Britain parents Canada. Britain is telling Canada what it should and shouldn’t do. They are saying things to us like “Proceed with caution!”, “Don’t make that part of your laws!”, and “I don’t think you should be considering that course of action”. They parent this nation, fighting to keep influence. Whether this is because they have our best interests in mind or if it’s for personal gain is the real question. But Britain must realize that we are not three year olds, no matter how we act. We can be given advice until our ears fall off, but we are a nation and we are going to do what is best for our nation, regardless of Britain’s opinion.

 

1848

I feel as though children use phases of questioning in order to learn about the world, or at least my child does. She asked me the other day why I had married her dad. I told her it was because it was arranged for me to marry him. She replied with the simple question of “Why”. So I answered to be met with yet another “why”. Soon enough, I ran out of answers and simply said “Because that is just how it is.” That of course didn’t stop her and I was asked once again “why”. This got me thinking about my situation. Why are things as they are? Why are women inferior to men? Why are the Aboriginals being both oppressed and ignored by the group of people that came to us, looking for a home? What did we do that caused our upper hand to be traded in for the short stick?  I also started thinking about what it would take to change things, to level the playing field. Would it require violence, or is equality something that can be achieved through peace, and discussion. Or, are we doomed to this oppressed state, stuck in this position on the continuum between majority and minority?

 

1864

It was nice to see my daughter again. I have not seen her since her son was born 3 years ago. I still cannot believe how much she has grown over the years. I can still remember her at 4, wandering the fields; at 8, questioning the world; at 15, discovering her passion and interest in herbal medicines; at 17, announcing she was going to leave the trading routes and go try to learn more about plants and all the medicinal properties they contain. It was nice to catch up and hear about what she’s been up to recently. We also sat in with our husbands as they talked. There is talk of confederation of the Upper and Lower Canadas. In a couple of months, there will be a conference in Charlottetown. Hopefully, there will be spokespersons for all nationalities: French, English, and Aboriginal. It’s nice to hear that we will be breaking from Britain, becoming independent. I wonder if Britain is in support of us branching out. Probably not. No matter. We should be allowed to make our own decisions, our own mistakes, and our own successes. What will be in store for us after the Canadas are united as a country of our own? What will be our laws, our regulations? I wonder if we will still be regarded as a minority after the confederation.

 

1871

No! Terrible news! My grandson has been sent to residential school. He is 10 years old. I don’t understand why someone would want to take him from his family and culture.  I was beginning to believe things would be better for us once we were our own country. Clearly I was misguided in my faith in the people to do a good job. Why must the English try to make us one of them? We are our own people, our own race. They are patronizing us, trying to control and mold us under the pretence of trying to do what is best for us. They are doing to us what Britain did to them. The oppressed have become oppressors, like father like son. The English know what it is like to be oppressed and yet they do the same thing to us. They understand what it is like. Do they simply not care? Why must they fall into that cycle of oppressed to oppressor as if it is unavoidable? It is almost as if humankind is doomed to abuse the power it is given because they can. I wonder if there is a way to stop a person from abusing the power they are given. Because if so, let us find that way. Let us find that way before too many suffer from abused power. We must break this cycle before it is engrained in our species.

 

Here Comes Election Day!

I am not good at politics. I find it confusing and never seem to be able to keep the terms straight. I used to also find them really boring, most likely because of that lack of understanding. That being said, I am starting to understand how everything works. Class taught me a lot, however it really was my classmates, in between lessons, re-explaining terms and concepts that helped me through with concepts sticking. Now that things make sense, I actually am really interested in what the parties are saying and proposing are the best courses of action. I like that I’ve started to see things I support within party platforms.

One narrative I really care about is geography, more specifically the environment and what we should be doing about it. I feel that we as a community are not caring enough about what we are doing to our Earth, an Earth that is supposed to last a lot longer than it will if we continue the way we are. We need to start looking more into clean energy as well as renewable resources. We need to start lowering our carbon output and work to lessen the amount of fossil fuels that we are burning.

A party that is really behind this is the Green Party. In their campaign, the Green Party talks about cutting the use of coal to make energy, therefore lessening the amount of carbon being released into the environment through burning. They also talk about working to lower our green-house gas emissions. While there are parts of their campaign, like the carbon pricing, I don’t completely understand, they seem to be the only party that cares about what type of Earth we are leaving behind for our future generations.

Another thing I care about is rights and recognition to people with mental illnesses. Should someone with a mental illness commit a crime because of said illness, I believe that instead of being put in solitary confinement, they should be given the chance to go to a mental institution to better themselves and lower the chances of reoffending. I also believe that us as a society need to work to rid the stigma mental illness has developed. We need to start recognising it as an actually illness, as legitimate as any sickness or injury.

While mental illness is not a priority for any party, many parties have statements on the topic. Here is a website where an interviewer sent questions regarding mental illness and how the parties plan to address the topic (3rd position paper down). The Green Party agree that mental illness is something we need to look into more and that we need to improve the amount of support people with mental illnesses get. The Liberals are in high support of giving attention to mental illness. They state that they “firmly believe that all Canadians must receive equal treatment regardless of the type of illness with which they are afflicted”. Due to an error on the website, the NDP’s response is unavailable. The Conservative Party did not directly answer the questions asked and instead directed the interviewer to view their party platform. As they did not wish to answer the questions, I am not lead to believe that their efforts are in the best interest of the people with mental illnesses.

While I am still learning of the platforms that the parties are proposing and though I am not old enough to vote, I am happy to know there are government parties that support things I believe we should be fighting for.

Suicidal Rates among Aboriginal People

Considering that suicide among aboriginals was almost non-existent in the 1980’s, it is shocking to learn that the suicide rate for Aboriginals now is almost 5 times that of the National Average. Suicide and self-injury is the leading cause of death for Aboriginals up to the age of 44 and is especially common among the Aboriginal youth. Why are suicide rates so high? Is it a result of the psychological impact that residential schools had all those years ago? Or is it something else entirely?

There are many theories as to why suicide is so prominent within the aboriginal community. Some theories talk about acculturative stress. Acculturative stress is defined as a reduction in health status. This stress would be derived from circumstances such as residential school experiences, forced adoption or foster care, forced relocation as a community, and denied recognition as a race (as the Metis experienced). This stress can be passed on to other generations through intergenerational trauma. Intergenerational trauma is when trauma is passed on from first generation trauma survivors to second generation offspring and so on. Experiencing such things could put individuals at risk of suicide.

Another theory includes an observed domino effect. Aboriginal community members have noted that some suicides have occurred as if to imitate a previous suicide. It has been noted that youth tend to romanticize the idea of suicide. Other sources comment on how suicides seem to be normalizing. More theories include it being a result of racism, poor health, and unbearable childhood traumas.

When asked about the reasons behind the high suicide rates, Ermineskin First Nation Chief Randy Ermineskin said that it’s “a very, very tough question to answer because you can say one thing and then the next day the ones you think are doing right could be the ones that are affected by it. There`s too much noise out there for our young people nowadays and we`re not monitoring it and we don`t know what`s going on behind their bedroom doors.”

This April, the UN and the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (PEII) met and addressed many issues including the suicide rate concerns. Following the meeting, it has been recommended that the World Health Organization “address self-harm and suicide among indigenous children and young people” (iisd).

Luckily, measures are already being taken to prevent these aboriginal suicides. Health Canada have created a National Aboriginal Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy (NAYSPS). NAYSPS aims to work to involve Aboriginals in more community-based activities related to preventing suicide. They also plan to increase the number of local suicide prevention professionals as well as youth connections online. There is also the Centre for Suicide Prevention that has adopted similar strategies. The website “Creative Spirits” suggest that efforts be made to heal the trauma that suicide leave on communities. They also talk about working to strengthen Aboriginal culture and language within the people as well as teach Aboriginal culture in schools and recognize Aboriginal laws.

While plans are being made to fix this issue, this is not an issue that is well known. We, as a community, need to help by raising awareness of this suicide crisis as well as work to support the Aboriginal communities. By raising awareness, we can hope that news of this problem will reach the ears of people that can make an impact on the issue. These Aboriginal suicide rates are much higher than those of non-aboriginals, especially in youth, and it is something that needs to be addressed for the sake of the suffering communities.

Humans are like the colour Purple

B2: Evaluate the impact of interactions between Aboriginal peoples and European explorers and settlers in Canada from 1815-1914.

When looking at this topic and its Suggested Achievement Indicators (SAIs), something that really draws my attention is the involvement of Aboriginals, especially Aboriginal women, in the Fur Trade. I love that this topic can tie into other SAIs through building off of that topic. For example, because the Aboriginals helped with fur trading, the helped with the economic development that Canada gained from the Fur Trade. During the role play, I researched a lot about Aboriginal women’s involvement in the fur trade, being that my role had me being one myself. Passion-wise, I find that I’m interested in this topic because I like learning of circumstances and times when women, still possibly being seen as a minority, had vital roles in shaping societies that we have today, or at least helping us to get here.

One aspect that really interests me is the friendship treaties that the Aboriginals made with the people of Nova Scotia. Questions that this topic sparks include things like how did they work, how were they enforced, did they need to be enforced, etc. Another question would be what would happen if we were to try and implement such treaties nowadays. Would it work? Do we even have cause too? I suppose we could conclude that the treaties were simply truces that were made and honoured with no need to be enforced. As far as making those treaties nowadays, I would need much more information before trying to answer that question. I will know that these questions are answered when I have an answer that I can accept as viable as well as accurate, logical, and factually backed up.

This PLO can be connected with various different PLOs. B2 analyses interactions between roles established in B1. It shows the influence of immigration on Canadian Society (B3) because it shows how immigrated cultures (French, British, Irish, etc.) are influencing existing cultures (the Aboriginals). These connections show that society isn’t black and white, that they can’t be divided into separated sections. Humans are a messy species, we are imperfect, and because of this, the lines that are drawn to attempt division are blurred and overlapping. That’s the way the world works. Even when dividing colour, purple can be both blue and red.

May!

How is it May already?

Now I know my schedule should have been up yesterday but I was at a dance competition until late last night. I know…. not an excuse…. but fear not! A schedule you shall have!

May 2 (today!!) : How to Organize

9: What and How to Pack For an Adventure Trip

16: Reacting to Old Photos

23: My In-Depth Night Video

30: Welcome to In-Depth

Now, as I hinted, I am uploading a video RIGHT NOW so make sure you keep an eye on my channel as it will be going up.

Have a wonderful day. Bye!

The End is Near | In-Depth #7/8

Wow, I can’t believe that in less than a month in-depth night will be upon us and this experience will be over, at least academically. I didn’t realize that we were so close to the finish until Ms. Mulder told us that this was the last post. I suppose I should get started on my final video for in-depth night….. Anyways, back to the task at hand.

 

Sharing Feelings:

For my previous meeting with Jess, she came to tell me about a project that Mr. Udell had given to her. She asked me if I wanted to help her with it. We both seemed very excited about the opportunity and I quickly told her that I’d love to help on the documentary-style project. She went on to say that she would CC me on any emails she had relating to the project. I honestly can’t wait to learn more information on this filming opportunity. The prospect of the project and new type of task seems thrilling if a little daunting but I can tell it will be an awesome learning experience. I think Jess thinks so as well. We both seem to be really interested in what this project could entail and I look forward to knowing more.

During the meeting previous to that one, we talked about video concepts and finding inspiration. By the end of that conversation, we were both relating and reflecting on times when we were stuck without ideas, causing us, or me at least, to feel unity between us as we discussed this topic we both deemed relatable. It took any awkwardness away and the discussion seemed comfortable.

In the first conversation I mentioned, we expressed excitement through verbal statements like “That’s awesome!” and “Seems really cool!”; whereas, with my second conversation, emotions were shared through a known common understanding of the topic as well as body language such as laughing or smiling knowingly. There was an air of familiarity not commonly present in our conversations, a feeling two individuals feel when they share a common state of mind and understanding of a topic.

 

Diversions:

When Jess and I meet up, it is uncommon for us to be alone in a room. This of course leads to distractions and diversions being a common occurrence. For example; there was one meeting that we had after a Me to We meeting had finished. Kim came up to us to ask me and Jess a question. Our conversation quickly derailed and we were soon discussing a topic for Me to We. When that train of thought was done however, it merely took one of us (I can’t remember who) saying “Where were we? Ah, right,” to get us back on track. The conversation returned to its previous state almost seamlessly; it was almost as if the other conversation had not occurred at all.

I guess that’s it. Well, I’ll still be posting about all my new videos (when I remember…. oops). Speaking of which, don’t forget to check out my channel here. I always love to get comments, video ideas, etc. Until next time, bye!

Socials Mid-Term

We have reached confederation! During the first half of the term, the class studied the confederation through a role play scenario where we took on characters from different social classes (i.e. The English, The French, The Natives).  Role play activities ranged from twitter debates to in-class debates, from read packages to writing proposals. Through these activities, I fulfilled multiple Prescribed Learning Outcomes (PLOs) while still falling short on some as well. There were three PLOs that I believe I completed well: B1, B2, and C1. Three PLOs I feel I could have done more with were B3, B4 and C2.

Multiple PLOs were fairly easy to complete because of my character: Rosalie L’Hirondelle. Rosalie was not a real person, leading me to do quite a bit of personal researching on the topic of Aboriginals and, more specifically, Aboriginal Women and their involvement in the fur trade. While constructing Rosalie, I developed a strong understanding of Aboriginals involvements in the trading companies as well as the women’s involvement with the French Canadians. I researched about how Aboriginals and their knowledge of the land helped the development of Canada. This is proof of B2.

After developing and researching our characters, we shared our characters within our quads and learned about everyone else’s roles. It was during that conversation that I meet B1. Within the conversation, I learned about the impact of the railway as well as the perspective of a African-American slave refugee. I compared the roles of myself with other Aboriginals, English politicians, slave refugees and French common folk.

The readings provided by Mr. Jackson also helped with understanding PLOs, like C1 for example. At the beginning of the unit we were given a package with the title “Towards Confederation”. Within the package, it depicted the causes of the 1837-38 rebellions; such as land claim, religious favoritism, and political support, as well as its consequences; like the Durham Report and the Act of Union. It gave me knowledge that I would require to be able to describe the events that occurred and what the Durham Report and the Act of Union pertained to.

Of course it would be unreasonable to say that I completed all the PLOs perfectly. PLO B3 was addressed during one of the packages. We read the package; however, I didn’t retain the information. In future, I need to work on retaining the information that I read about as not to forget about important influences on Canada’s society like immigration.

Just like B3, C2 had a package that addressed the PLO. And while I read this package, I have found that I read it because it was homework and not because I was expanding my knowledge. I need to focus more on working to learn the information in packages as opposed to skimming paragraphs to say I’ve read them.

During the role-plays, there were multiple French and English interactions that were witnessed by everyone that hinted at factors that contributed to the changing identity of Canada; however, being an aboriginal, I had a withdrawn view of these interactions Because of this, my knowledge of B4 is limited. In future role-plays, it would be beneficial for me to do extra research in order to gain more knowledge about PLOs that don’t directly affect my character.

In conclusion, I completed multiple PLOs while there were still multiple I could have done more on. Most of the PLOs that I obtained were done so through exploring my character. The most beneficial step to take in future socials classes and units would be to work harder to learn and retain information given through reading packages.

Twitter Interactions

Many of my interactions were with either Tecumseh or John A. Macdonald. John and I had some long arguments.

I feel I had some good points:

 

My conversations with Mr. Macdonald were short; however there were multiple. Example 1,  Example 2, Example 3

My talks with Tecumseh were few, but I always loved what he had to say.

For more conversations, look at my timeline.

Rosalie’s Final Address

History, see me as someone who took what life gave her and made opportunities out of it. All my life, I was given the short stick and yet, here I am, with a natural death that followed a happy life. I was an aboriginal woman, the minority of the minority, who was given away like a prize to a French fur trader. Still, I made opportunities. I learned French, had a daughter, and got involved in the fur trade. I developed a strong relationship with my husband, and he often was willing to give me a voice by raising opinions on my behalf. Yet I still fought this oppressive society. When I was very old, English became the only official language. Do you know hard it is to attempt to learn yet another language while brushing death? Not knowing English put me at even more of a disadvantage than I was before. Just before I died, French became an official language. What a happy day! I was finally gaining advantages in this society! But now what is this I hear, an aboriginal nation impossible? Why is this true? I hear that the votes were not outrageously outbalanced, we only needed six more votes. Though if you think about it, the teams were not exactly fair. Sometimes I wonder if those in the majority like having minorities, I mean, how do you expect us to vote and become equal, if being a minority makes us more likely to be outvoted?

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Twitter Conversations

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