Helper

My family moved to the Cowichan territory when I was about thirteen. And that kind of bubbled up as soon as I read about Contact No Contact, and the Cowichan, of course, territory and lands. My middle school was mixed, with quite a diverse culture. There were the South Asians, First Nations and then all us white settlers. And I could feel a conflict as soon as I got into that school. I had come from a very white elementary school and there were no people of any other ancestries or cultures. So in Cowichan, I didn’t have any learning, or context or understanding of what I was feeling or sensing, and no one to really talk about it. There were no Indigenous classes. There was, of course, the lies in social studies, again all on the wrong history and not the truthful history of Canada. My journey around nutrition and health started, and I wanted to become a helper. That’s why a lot of people get into health care. I always had an attraction to working with Indigenous communities and having to learn where that attraction came from and reflect on that. I’ve worked in these communities for fifteen years now, and just the kindness, and the love and the hard work that people have had to help me decolonize and open up my eyes. Someone described it to me the other day that I’m swimming in the waters of whiteness. That’s all I’ve known and all I’ve ever learned. And I’m really trying to work on learning about that, and how contact with relationships and contact with others, and just learning how I’m showing up and how I’m working in the world. So when I think about Contact No Contact, that’s how to be safe and how to do the work to make sure those relationships aren’t harmful.