Yay! I’m going back! After a long COVID isolation, I can finally return to the Kettle and Stony Point First Nation. Yay!
Let me back-up, to explain the use of not just one, but two “Yay!”s.
I grew up in Sarnia, Ontario. For those who don’t know, Sarnia neighbours three First Nation communities: Aamjiwnaang First Nation, Walpole Island First Nation, and Kettle and Stony Point First Nation.
Growing up a middle class white kid, I had only a foggy notion of my location in the world. Aside from attending a pow-wow once, I didn’t hang out with my neighbours. Sadly, I wasn’t unusual in this.
I remember reading, “I Heard the Owl Call My Name” in high school. It moved me deeply. Like any Canadian kid of that era, I learned a bit about Indigenous history in my Canadian history classes. Not much; and I’m not saying what I learned was accurate or free of bias.
My family travelled around Canada in the summers, and I visited historical and cultural sites, learning a few more bits and pieces about Indigenous folk. Again, not much.
I left for college swearing I’d never return to Sarnia. Life happened, and almost three decades later, I returned. (Wish I’d done it much sooner. Bigger cities aren’t better cities, and I do love my hometown.)
An Unforeseen Gift
One of the best parts of returning was the opportunity to meet and work with some of my Indigenous neighbours. Finally. I consider myself very fortunate to have this gift. I know I didn’t do much (if anything) to earn it.
I’m still that middle-class white kid (at least at heart). For a number of reasons, it would be better if Indigenous therapists provided service rather than middle-class white therapists like me. I think that’s coming. Until then, I’ll try my best to help and feel grateful for the chance to do so.
Canada is a nice place, more or less. Part of the “less” is our shameful history of colonization. There are many volumes written about that. It goes far beyond what I can capture in a blog post and for today, that’s not my point.
For today, my point is I’m an ordinary guy, blessed with the gift of a chance to hang out with — and maybe, hopefully, even help a bit — some very lovely people. For today, I’m very happy with the easing of COVID related restrictions, as it means I’m going back. Yay!