Haida?

haidagwaiimuseum

Today I turned 24.

In my life this far I have struggled with identity.

With culture.

With being Haida.

With being mixed.

With ignorant individuals, racism and hate.

This blog is not easy to write. But today, I feel like it is necessary. This story is personal, to me, to my family and to my Nation. So please respect it enough to let me share my truth, my journey and hopefully to make you evaluate your own beliefs.

Lazy, stupid, chug, squaw, Indian, apple, addicted, used, “they get everything for free”, “get over it”, “it’s not my fault”, “get a job”, useless, ugly, drunken Indian, “that’s in the past”

I thought about listing our facts for you to read about past and current injustices against Aboriginal peoples.

Instead I am going to share my story and the story of my family.

This is hard and this is personal.

I hope…

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Summary of October 24th’s Proceedings

SUmmary of the Peel Court Case for October 24th, 2014.

The Peel Watershed Legal Case

The Peel court case reconvened for a fifth and final day today at the behest of Justice Veale.  The judge brought the plaintiffs and defendants back together at the Yukon Law Courts to delve deeper into the issue of remedies for the Peel trial. As in July, both the main court room and the additional room where the hearing was being live-streamed were packed.

The judge opened the trial with a statement that today’s hearing was not a settlement hearing, as some media outlets had implied, but a remedies hearing.

Thomas Berger, on behalf of the plaintiffs, led off the proceedings.  Despite suffering from bronchitis he assured Justice Veale that his voice could hold out for the half day of proceedings.  He laid out the remedy sought by the plaintiffs: a remittance of the Peel land use planning process back to the stage where the Yukon Government ran it off…

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Garbage Baggage

I wasn’t going to major in Native Studies.

I just wasn’t going to.

When I came to university, I had decided that I was going to earn a “legitimate” major: economics, political science, anything but Native Studies.  I wasn’t going to major in Native Studies because I didn’t want to be that Native kid.

I came to university with four garbage bags of luggage: two were my clothes and bedding and the two others were my internalized racism and shame.

I struggled so much in my first semester of university.  I felt disconnected from my classmates who seemed to know way more than I did in these topics.  I felt disconnected from home and I desperately clung to any I could that made me feel less away and more at home where I was.  I failed two courses my first semester: French and Economics.  I struggled to grasp and understand the topics…

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Shinli’ Niint’aih

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Well, this is my official stab at blogging. My reason for this blog is that I hope that it will help me on my journey in defining my ‘creativity’ and expressions of who I am. Importantly to interact and share ideas with others. Overtime my posts of self expressions will flow itself through a series of topics and I hope to share inspiring ideas with you.

Let me begin. I am Indigenous and a member of the Teetl’it Gwich’in First Nation and was born and raised in the Western Arctic of Northern Canada.  I love to bead, sew, learn and weave stories of my culture, and had recently discovered the world of gardening & all things diy.  I am currently in my final stages of completing my Masters Degree in Political Science. I have a loving partner/husband Adam and we both live with our Daisy cat on the beautiful prairies of Treaty 6 and Metis homelands in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

The title of my blog I named “Shinli’ Nintaii'”. It is a word or expression in my Teetł’it Gwich’in language that translates into English as: ‘Strong Hands’.  I often recollect on this expression because it helps me in a variety of ways both emotionally and spiritually. There is a story that I have of my Great-Grandmother or Jijuu , Mary, who used the expression to show how strong and resilient the woman are in my First Nation.  This story was told to me as a child about the hard work that Moosehide Tanning is. From the raw material of the hide to be transformed into clothing or shoes, the hide tanners in my Nation often would develop strong hands because of this.  Hide tanning is one of the most gifted and prized skills for a woman to have.  This process also changed not just the physical condition of individuals, as they worked hard day in and out to transform it, the spiritual self is also affected.  Moose hide tanning is a spiritual and physical process that occurs between the hide and the tanner.  It is one of the most resilient and form of practice that is still exercised within my family, and luckily, it is a practice that is being revived among individuals of my Nation. So I come from a family of tanners and a line of woman who embody what it means to have strong hands.  This word embodies and carries significant meaning for me.

I hope my blog reaches out far and wide.  I hope to connect with as much like minded individuals to help express and share in ideas of creativity and expressions of Indigeneity. Much LOVE & Light!

Hui Cho. Many Thanks.