A Non Indigenous Student

Decent Essays
As a non-indigenous student, I want future generations to understand that the fact that you do not live on a reserve, does not mean you cannot embrace your own Indigeneity, connect to your place and ancestry, and put effort into learning about your ancestral roots. I was feeling frustrated that I did not have that connection to my ancestors, that I did not know their struggles, their stories, let alone their names. For this embodiment project I expanded my knowledge of my own personal genealogy and developed a deep sense of appreciation for archival records, census forms, and any record at all, of life in the eighteenth century and beyond. Throughout this ongoing project, the four R’s (Reciprocity, respect, responsibility, and relevance)…show more content…
It was then that all of the discussions that were had in my Indigenous class with Margo Tamez, and everything I had been taught about Indigenous history came flooding back to me. I knew deep down that it was possible, but it seemed hard to believe that my chances at finding out more information about my genealogy were growing more and more slim. The realization that my history has been impeded on is frustrating, and I know I cannot justify this feeling because I am white. Whiteness is a state of unconsciousness. Whiteness is often invisible to white people, and this perpetuates a lack of knowledge or understanding of difference, which, according to bell hooks, is a root cause of oppression (hooks, 1994). Knowing your genealogy is a human RIGHT. It is not a privilege that I have luckily been awarded because I am white. It is a complete violation of the rights of Indigenous peoples and this cannot continue. The biggest issue that I try to unpack in my embodiment project is in relation to what I am calling ‘colonized sources’. I will explain how I came to this terminology in a moment.
Colonization. Erasure. Settlers. Residential schools.
Around 1840, Euro-American imperialists imposed policies to terminate the passing of knowledge, language, and culture between generations (desLibris, 2015). Following the rise of residential schools, Indigenous knowledge was becoming
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