Learning through Indigenous Voices
The most powerful book I've read in the past year was In My Own Moccasins: A Memoir of Resilience by Helen Knott. At the time I read it, I was also living in Fort St. John, the small northern city about which Knott writes. The experiences described by Knott were harrowing and heartbreaking, a very different experience of adolescence, of the place where I was living, of the streets I've walked. It's like there were two Fort St. Johns, two streams of experiences, each invisible to the other—though maybe we just never wanted to see. It scared me. And, what scared me more was realizing that Knott's story is one of many, that too many women are not able to find the strength and resilience that she did.
Today is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada. It's a day to deepen our understand and commitment decolonization as a nation. As an immigrant to Canada who settled in Toronto at a young age, the experiences of Indigenous peoples were not something I had actively thought about. It's only after moving to British Columbia 12 years ago, that I began to notice and to learn, to educate myself about the history of residential schools and their multigenerational impacts, of experiences so different than my own. It's an ongoing process, but one that I am committed to.
I have always believed in the power of stories to transform our thoughts and behaviours, which is why reading the work of Indigenous authors is so important. I invite you to pick up a book by an Indigenous author, such as Knott, and begin to educate yourself. The more we know, the more we can be of service. We are always stronger together, as women and as people.