Meeting with Elders

Today our class met and spoke with two elders in respect to our last week’s class. Because the topic of missing and murdered indigenous women had been deeply discussed last week, our prof decided that we could not stop there.

The elders spoke of the past, future, and present of indigenous people and all other peoples of Canada. They explained that in the past, their women were traded to white people in return for alcohol. Today, their woman are still being taken from them. We were taught that if we want this to change, we need to walk in their shoes. They live in our world every day, but how often do we live in theirs? We need to understand the difference between sympathy and empathy; We need to enter their culture.

Parents teach their children according to what their parents taught them. As children grow up, they begin to take on the role of their parents and eventually teach their own children what their parents taught them. Metaphorically, you could say that children are raised in a way to fill their parent’s shoes and those same shoes just keep getting passed down through the generations. Today, I find that my generation has the choice to either wear the shoes our parents have passed down to us and raised us to wear, or to wear new shoes. New shoes sound nice, however, they are very big. This generation along with the coming generations have big roles to take- roles we haven’t been raised to fill. This is why I find that so many people my age turn a blind eye to the social justice of Indigenous people. “Education is key” (Justice Murray Sinclair) to raising young people in a way that they can fit their new shoes. Unlike adults, children are easy to educate. Children need not only to understand Canadian history pertaining to First Nations people but need to be taught what actions need to be done to make a difference for the future. And it is all so simple. Simple enough for even an adult. We can start by putting on moccasins.

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