Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Michelle Jean tells the neglected story of Indigenous Canadians

In indigenous affairs, he affirms Michael John (Alma, Canada, 1960), “Everything remains to be done. We must protect indigenous languages, we must eradicate poverty in communities, we must end casteismand governments need to recognize indigenous village and give them the opportunity to make their own decisions own territory,

Michelle Jean is a famous television presenter QuebecIn 2008, she began publishing novels, but for years she had to do the same as her mother and grandmother: not to mention her indigenous Innu origins. “For many years I grew up in a society where French-speaking white culture looked down upon indigenous culture. The fact is that I did what my mother, my grandmother, did: I did nothing for many years. Said, I did not talk about my roots. native“, Bill.

The author tried in vain to find out more about her past: “I got very close to my kukum, that is, my grandmother, I asked her about the language, traditions, culture, but she didn’t answer me much, she Didn’t give details. In fact; I asked her and she told me she didn’t because she didn’t want me to live what she lived.

a) yes, “Punishment” (Tiempo de Papel, 2019), Michel Jean’s title of his most famous novel: so far it has sold more than 175 thousand copies. He accompanied her last December, for the first time in Mexico, to present her at FIL Guadalajara. The book, he explains, “is not about my family, but about the forced sectarianization of Indigenous peoples: in Quebec and Canada, people still know much less about the reality of Indigenous peoples than many people think.” They live on the reservation because they lost the war and that’s all they have.

So far it has sold more than 175 thousand copies Photo: Exclusive

In “Kukum” the author tells his story great grandmother allamandawho falls in love with a young inu Quebec and adopts its nomadic, free-living lifestyle amidst nature. However, things change in his maturity and he has to face the loss of his land, imprisonment in the stockade and violence from the apprentices in the name of progress. A reality shared by the 15,000 Innu and more than 300,000 indigenous people who, according to the census, exist in Canada.

“Really in writing this novel I wanted to convey the impact of the relationship with these indigenous communities to this day; One day it occurred to me to approach the story I wanted to write through the history of my family, who lived it like this; But in my perception, telling the story of my family is telling the story of all Indigenous peoples”, she affirms.

far from origin

Michel Jean’s own story of its origin had escaped. “I lived away from my culture for many years and grew up in a white environment; This happened because when my grandmother married my grandfather, whose status was white, although in fact he was half-indigenous, the laws of the time forced my grandmother to be expelled from the reservation, the aim being as much as possible. had to assimilate that much native,

“At the end of the day I tried to get closer to the core, to the roots that I had; However, it was very difficult to contact my grandmother, my mother, to tell me, because they were victims of racism in return. My family’s way of protecting themselves was to try to stop talking about indigenous origins in order to blend in with white society as much as possible and avoid it. Casteism”, explains the author.

Michele Jean held close to her past until her grandmother died. One of her cousins, Janet, who had only known her through television, looked her up and told her she recognized indigenous characteristics in her: ‘I see you have a very stressful job, you have dealt with wars, demonstrations, Everyone around is covered. It gives you stress and you always remain calm, that’s what is Swadeshi. You are like a stone, when one throws the stone into the river it vanishes and if one observes it from a distance, he sees how the stone slowly falls towards the bottom.’

“And since then, apparently I have a lot of water, it took a long time for this thought to sink to the bottom of my soul. As I absorbed it, I said to myself: ‘It’s true, but I felt it was part of my character’; She didn’t tell me that it was a cultural trait, and then I asked myself what indigenous part of me was left by living in an environment that had nothing to do with indigenous. Thanks to this meeting, I am closer to him, I visit the stores, and since then I write more about him because I believe that if we are not going to write our stories, then who is going to do it? Has it been?”, he says.

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