Family Tree

I’m currently in the process of making contact with an Aboriginal. That Aboriginal is inside of me. It’s my Aboriginal heritage that I’m just discovering. About five years ago my sister did our family tree, and I’m a descendant of the hereditary chiefs of Iroquois people. And five generations ago the chief married a French woman from New Orleans, and their daughter’s name was Margaret Herondale. She was a prominent leading matriarch in the Red River Métis community at the time of the Red River rebellion. What’s really fascinating for me about this is that I can look at history text, or movies, or TV shows, or books about my family, ya know? Those old photos of the Métis community, I can look at those and wonder who I’m related to. And it’s really given me a connection to being a Canadian that I never had before. I always felt kind of horrible being a white person in Canada because of the history, the genocide. I’m reconciled with that now because I am from that place. It’s given me a lot of backbone to walk down this street in my community. The Downtown Eastside is the largest off-reserve Aboriginal community in Canada. There is a lot of resentment towards white people and Europeans, but it no longer applies to me just because I have white skin, because my ancestors were here for twenty thousand years. So I have the right to be here like anyone else.