Yes, that comment is racist.

Yes, that comment is racist.

December 18, 2021

Today I saw an ad in the Prince George Citizen where MNBC (Metis Nation of BC) was asking for people who are Metis to apply for their citizenship.
The comments under the post were so awful and racist. This is why I stopped following my local newspapers, because whenever there's a story about something indigenous, the nasty vile racist come out and go unchallenged. People say nasty things and joke about how we're not really indigenous, about how we just have one Indian great great great grandmother. They joke about how we just get tax breaks and other shit. None of these comments go challenged. To be honest, I don't have the energy to challenge it either. It's a never-ending tide of toxic shit. 
This is happening at the same time where I've also been reading a book about Metis spirituality. This book is important because it brings our stories of indigenous spirituality to reality and helps us know who we are. But to get there we've had to talk about racism. Every Metis person interviewed (around 30) talked about the impact that racism had in their family history, but also in their daily lives. Many people struggle to express their heritage because of the racism in their lives. 

My family originally comes from the Red River Valley, and sometimes I imagine what it might be like there, to be surrounded in my culture. But, the book showed me that it is overwhelmed by settlers and how the racism that's come along with them has changed it completely. The people interviewed didn't live in the town anymore, but talked about how the racism was found in the streets, at work and heavily at school. Many struggled with internalized racism and the impacts it had on how they expressed their culture. 
To me, it is so clear how settler colonialism has impacted and continues to impact our lives. Even this town that we are in has almost completely drown out the indigenous culture. 
We still live in a racist world. It is still very much alive and perpetuated by the people we live with. We live in a world where white culture is valued above indigenous culture and where it's acceptable to say vile things about indigenous people. 
So, here's a little lesson in what is unacceptable to say to Metis people. 
It's not okay to say: "Anyone can be Metis now" - this shows that you have zero understanding of the Metis culture and history, which is the backbone of our land. If you're a settler, you're here because a Metis person paved the way. 
It's not okay to say "If I can get out of being vaccinated, I'll self identify as Metis" - just stop. The Metis Nation has actually be instrumental in ensuring that we had access to the vaccine. 
It's not okay to say "Anyone with a great great great grandmother who was Indian is Metis" - this is not true. Metis culture is a live culture that isn't defined by a single indigenous ancestor. 
It's not okay to joke about us getting tax breaks. This isn't true at all. We have no reserve land. Even First Nations people who have tax breaks are subject to insane colonial rules. 
It's not okay to ask what percentage of blood we need to have to be Indian. This is SO racist that it makes my blood boil. This is white supremacist thinking. Like the farther you get from purity, the less legitimate you are. 
These are all from real comments on the PG Citizen post that have not been removed. 
It's so frustrating to see this pop up in my timeline. I try hard to ensure that these things aren't part of my life. Yet still, they creep in and remind me why I'm doing what I'm doing. 
I'm starting a project which will celebrate and illustrate my Metis heritage and family story. I'm trying to bring the intangible into reality. We so often see the story that's perpetuated by these racists. But we rarely see a loving story that honours the Metis culture. We rarely see anything about Metis culture PERIOD. 

My project is called Otipemisewak, after the Cree word for the Metis people meaning 'The People Who Own Themselves'. We are not and have never been defined by the plentiful racists of this land. We have always been independent, strong and have a rich history. I can't wait to bring that into reality so that other Metis people can see our culture reflected back. 
Our existence is resistance. Every beaded piece, story, song, museum, book, painting and piece of culture is an act of rebellion. Each piece of art takes the intangible and makes it something we can touch, look at and say that Metis culture is alive. We can see ourselves and our story reflected back. Our artists keep the culture alive and allow our people to express themselves. This is some of the most important work that we can do. Today, I was reminded about the impact of my art and the impact that it can and will have on Metis people. 
My blood boils when I read those racist comments and it fuels me to be even more bold and expressive in celebrating our culture. Our people are stronger, more creative, loving, funny and intelligent than all these racists lumped together. And the future will be ours, and not theirs. 



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