My granny helped to raise me and she was very devoted to the Catholic religion. I spent a lot of time as a young girl in a church and praying to “God” believing that your devotion (or lack of) defined you as a person. The tattoo of my rosary and script from the Bible symbolizes and memorializes my granny’s loving nature and kind heart. She gave the rosary to me when I was seven years old and I believe she lived her life by the words: “Let all that you do be done in love.”
As an adult, I learned about the history of colonization and the intent of residential schools run by the churches. I am torn when I consider my loving (yet traumatic) childhood with regards to my family’s devotion. Our Indigenous culture was all but erased and our ability to speak our traditional language has been lost over time, but our resilience, our connection to the land and our ability to laugh never left.
I had to ask for guidance for the Chipewyan (Dene) word I have tattooed, but it symbolizes our strength and humour even when our own existence was at stake. nadlogh means “she is laughing.”
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.