My Days as an Indian
a poem by Amy Hull
Who am I, if not Mi’kmaw?
Have I been lying or have I been lied to my whole life?
Because this whole time I was under the impression that being Mi’kmaw was enough for me to be considered Mi’kmaw.
Alas, my days as an Indian were short-lived because apparently Indian Status can be revoked as easily as one, two… thirteen!
So then who am I, if not Indian?
Do I remain the woman whose grandfather fought for the formation of the Qalipu Nation so that I could be a Status Indian…
After that very nation fought to take my Status away?
Or am I just one in one hundred some odd thousand striving to be “Canada’s Next Top Pretendian”? (Who should really be giving back their Indspire money and making a public apology…)
Is my identity based on blood? I have blood.
Is it based on cultural knowledge? I’ve got that too.
Is it based on connection to Newfoundland? Let me show you my birth certificate.
Is it based on money and corporate interest?
And why is it that those who tormented my brown Mi’kmaw body growing up now get to be card-toting Indians when all I’m left with is the memory of my grandfather slowly dying of cancer? In which nation is that fair?
Not in mine…anymore.
The real kicker is that almost all of those kids have told me to my Mi’kmaw face that they only applied for Status to get money they think is free.
Now I know this might come off as offensive to those of you with multi-coloured craft feathers in your hair.
But I get it. My great-great grandmothers were raped too.
They had their languages beaten out of them too.
What concerns me is that all of a sudden in 2011 after my grandfather’s death I stopped being represented as a Mi’kmaw.
I started being represented as a white person with Mi’kmaq ancestry.
Not that I’d been taken seriously as a human being previously.
So then who will my children be, if they’ve been kicked out of their First Nation before even having been born?
To my great-great-grandchildren will I simply be a story of an “Indian Princess” in the family?
Will my bloodline disappear into the lines on my face?
Because I guess I was wrong this whole time, and I can’t be a Mi’kmaw if I’m not accepted as one.
And I can’t tell if it’s my head spinning or if it’s my grandfather spinning in his grave
Because now by the Indian Act’s standards I am neither a 6-1 nor a 6-2
But by my own, I am a 5’1 Mi’kmaw woman.
And I defy those who who claim my indigeneity depends on my geographical location
Because I am down here in Toronto getting my education
Now, without a community to bring it back to.
So now who am I?
Wait and see.