2
Nov
2008

Episode 21 - Vanessa

Episode 21 of 24. A reading from the book Policies of Exclusion, Poverty & Health: Stories from the front. Compiled, with Introduction and Reports by Chrystal Ocean. Copyright 2005.

Vanessa's background is one of wealth, with an emphasis on conservatism, religion and traditional "family values" and roles.

Likely not surprising, Vanessa's independent spirit and high intelligence almost immediately placed her at loggerheads with her family's expectations and the norms of much of society still.

When I thought about my future, one thing was clear: I didn't want to grow up and serve some man. I didn't want to get married... There was no freakin' way in hell I was staying home 'til 5 o'clock and making sure someone's dinner was warm. I didn't want to be a servant. I worried and fretted about this. I did not want to be a wife; that's what it boiled down to. I could accept the notion of fatherhood, but not husband...

Then, when I did grow up, that's what I became. For years. That's the biggest thing that bothers me about society: It beats your spirit out of you.

22
Oct
2008

Episode 20 - Tatum

Episode 20 of 24. A reading from the book Policies of Exclusion, Poverty & Health: Stories from the front. Compiled, with Introduction and Reports by Chrystal Ocean. Copyright 2005.

One of several native women who participated in the project, Tatum has proven herself to be a fierce fighter against injustice: of that done to her as a child, woman and Indian, and to others in similar circumstances. As with two other of the storytellers, Tatum took her abuser to court. Also like them, she paid harshly for doing the right thing.

Beyond what has become the dishearteningly common tale of childhood sexual abuse, there are the abuses against native culture and identity.

I lived in Vancouver when I was 19, 20, 21.... My whole life, I think that’s what’s a live and so burning anger. We lost our language and every other culture is out there yakking their language – on public buses and on public streets. Oooh, that used to burn me in Vancouver when I was young! I used to be so angry when I heard another nationality’s voice in their own language. I think I still am. Then I have to be a Canadian citizen and you’re telling me I have to know French?!?!

Discrimination also remains alive and thriving in our community.

[As someone who doesn't look like the stereotypical Indian,] I never felt discrimination until I had this ex in my life.... Renting in Victoria ... there was so much discrimination. They would give the place to me when he was working... Then I’d bring my Indian husband. BAM! We don’t have a place anymore. Two hours ago I had it! No problem, no question. Then they see this Indian... He was in work clothes and everything!