Today marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, honouring the survivors of residential schools, and the children who never came home to their families and communities. The recognition and commemoration of this day is an important step in the reconciliation process and we, at Dulcedo, honour all Indigenous communities across Canada.
Our talent, Michelle Chubb
, took the time to speak to us today about the historical impact on her community, how as a new mother she plans to educate her daughter on history, and how we can all advocate for change and progress regardless of our different backgrounds and experiences.
What progress have you witnessed in your lifetime in terms of equality and recognition for Indigenous communities?
I’ve seen some progress! Like we are now seen on magazines, on runways, and on television. It's just something I didn’t get to see growing up.
People are now also bringing to light important topics like: MMIWG2S, Starlight tours, Residential schools/day schools, the government's corruption and how Indigenous people were mistreated under the Indian Act, the '60s scoop/millennial scoop… I can go on!
There’s so many of these topics that weren’t recognized growing up. There’s so much more to work towards reconciliation, but we are moving in the right direction!
What steps do you take to preserve your heritage and culture? How do you plan on passing on your ancestors' wisdom to your daughter?
There are many steps into passing the culture & wisdom onto the next generation. It takes a lifetime! You learn something everyday and there is always something new to teach my little one. I know for myself I didn’t learn all of what I’ve known in one day. It takes time & patience. I plan on teaching her slowly and steadily.
What do you feel are the biggest misconceptions about your community and culture?
I feel like most people like to put labels on others just to make themselves feel better. It's human nature!
I've heard so many misconceptions growing up-- especially in a predominantly white city. People tend to think we get free money or don’t pay taxes, which is false! I’ve been paying taxes since I first started working.
Or that we are alcoholics that waste our lives. Or that we are bad mothers. And so on and so forth. These misconceptions are what motivate me to push myself to remove the stigma around my people. I want to prove naysayers wrong. There is so much more to the picture if you are willing to open your eyes & listen. I appreciate those that appreciate the culture instead of appropriating it! There is a difference.
What advice do you have for those who are not a part of the community but want to help advocate for change and progress?
Go learn about Indigenous peoples & the history with the Canadian government. Back when I was younger, I didn’t learn a lot about my own history unless it was from family or I took a separate course in high school and not a lot of people signed up for it.
That is where you will learn the root of the problem with ongoing misconceptions/racism/mistreatment. There are organizations you can donate to or take part in volunteer work. Help remove the stigma towards Indigenous people by being active at the grassroots level!
As a new mom, what positive progress do you wish to see take place for when your daughter is older?
I hope she is comfortable in her own skin! I hope she is happy for who she is. I hope she loves the culture & language. I know that she will be a strong Indigenous woman.