Years ago when I was in university, I had to interview an influential woman in my life for a class on women’s studies. So I interviewed my mom. She is the oldest of 20 kids, was raised on a reserve in B.C. and was sent to a residential school. In doing this interview, I learned details of her life I didn’t know before. She told me about her experiences growing up, going to residential school and later going to post-secondary to become a teacher.
She talked about how professional women were very much in the minority then, and the number of native women graduating from university was very low – and still is very low today. I saw many injustices through her eyes, like seeing women get the vote before Indigenous people as a whole. And she talked about living through some not very nice things.
She told me that back then if you were a woman, you could be a teacher, a secretary or a nurse — pick one, that was your choice. But when I was growing up, there was never any question whether I could do something I wanted to do. She taught me that I should do it and I can do it.
We acknowledge that the land on which we gather in Treaty Six Territory is the traditional gathering place for many Indigenous people. We honour and respect the history, languages, ceremonies and culture of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit who call this territory home.