Episode 19 of 24. (Sheree) A reading from the book Policies of Exclusion, Poverty & Health: Stories from the front. Compiled, with Introduction and Reports by Chrystal Ocean. Copyright 2005.
I’ve always hated the way I looked. I was fair-skinned; I had light hair. I wasn’t Status. I was considered Caucasian by the Native community and by the government, but the white people would look at me: “You’re Native.” I was hated and ridiculed by my family and my peers: I was nothing; I was nobody; I would never amount to anything, no matter how I tried, where I tried or who I tried with; I was adopted; I was found in the ditch; I was found in the garbage. That was what they told me. I was beat up physically everyday. By the time I turned 5, I was made into a sexual object.
I read that over to myself after copying and pasting it, and don't know what else to add. It sickens me what Sheree and so many of these women have gone through.
All these stories were heart-wrenching to collect, assemble and hold secret until I released the first project report. Now to read them again, out loud, for these podcasts - well, that has proven difficult. In that respect, Sheree's story is no exception. It's like I'm in her skin.
Nor is Sheree an exception in protecting and nurturing an incredible inner strength to overcome what so many others wouldn't:
I’m hiding right now in this little place. I’m trying to gather my energy to go out in the world and say: “OK, here I am again! Let’s try it again. One more time. Let’s get it right people!”
I think I’m so stupid sometimes, seriously, because I go out there and try again. I really, honestly think that I’m going to find someone who’s going to help. It won’t go away. I just believe.
These women are amazing and literally take my breath away. It's been a profound privilege to know them.