Last week our most talked about story was a provocative post by blogger Lisa Charleyboy.
Charleyboy wrote candidly about the tough decision she has made regarding her love life and why she is has decided that she’s only interested in dating a status Indian man who is connected with his culture.
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- OPINION: Looking for First Nations love: Indigenous dating life 'complex'
Our readers were quick to react with their own opinions. And there were a lot of different opinions, from both aboriginal and non-aboriginal readers.
- Jenny Gray: Status has no relevance in a dating relationship....I have met many a man with status that has no connection to his culture....I look for a man who knows himself or is trying to reclaim his identity through ceremony and staying sober...its hard work but so worth it in the end....
- Jennifer Sewepagaham: I used to only look at status but now I know I was wrong. Now I know love is more important than status or "race". We are all human.
- The article struck a chord for Meredith Emily-Ann Schimmens: This was/is a very sensitive topic for me, being "half" it was a constant topic of "joking" as a child with the older women in my family telling me even as a very young child "you better not have kids with white men, your babies aren't gonna be Indians you know … They can't hunt? They won't want to dance or drum cuz they'll be white" now looking back .what a horrible thing to tell a child, and I know it's biased me to my choices in dating for sure ... I recognize and have tried to move past it, but found my handsome other half, in another "half" Indian."
- Shallen Ray: Although I have a different opinion than Lisa Charleyboy, I am glad that these issues are being addressed. I don't think culture is tied into blood quantum that is my point, and there are so many issues / scenarios that should be explored. If someone is not going to date someone because of they are not status that is their right but to associate status with cultural connection is problematic and full of judgement and assumptions.
For some Indian status is the last thing to strive for
Leah Gazan wrote to say that she has made a conscious decision to “...live outside of the Indian Act."
- Prior to colonization, women were leaders in our nations. We were respected as life givers and had the power to guide the decisions being made within our nations. This understanding of the important role of women was eroded as the Indian Act became enmeshed in our very own thinking.
We only have to look at the high rates of violence against our women, the number of our women that have gone missing and murdered with almost complete inaction, and the number of our children currently being apprehended and being placed in care to see how violent the Indian Act has been in dispossessing our women of power.
For Kevin Brousseau, Indian Status also brings up complicated matters:
- It wouldn’t be exaggerated to say that many of us are concerned with passing the so-called Indian Status down to our children and that marriage with a non-status person might bar us from doing just that.
However, many seem to forget or seem to be simply unaware of the insidious nature of being legally identified as a Status Indian. So while there are certain legal rights associated with the status, there are also legal disabilities. Many of these disabilities have been repealed by various amendments over the years, but many remain.
And it is these legal disabilities that so constrain our people that the standards of living in many of our communities are reminiscent of third world countries.
Unfortunately, many have become so comfortable to this systemic racism that being a possessor of an Indian Status Card that states that one is legally an “Indian” validates their indigenous identity.
Racism was also on the minds of other, non-aboriginal readers
- Lynn Kennedy: If a white person came out publicly about how hard it is to date to ensure bloodlines are kept pure what do you think the reaction would be? Racism shouldn't be any more acceptable just because it's coming from a visible minority!
- Ian Rooke-Hanke: We so easily forget the privilege we have being white in North America. First Nations people are so controlled and unequally treated in canada that a person wanting to keep their status to pass down to their children is seen as racist or purist, while we put more importance and snobbery in the pure breeding of our family pets.
I'm looking forward to watching a people grow, and in all our awareness, become stronger nation.
We're all treaty people.
- Candace Abijah: FN account for 5% of Canada's population; whereas white people account for 80%. They are the original inhabitants of this land and they've lost almost everything. And you call someone racist for trying to preserve what is left? There is no comparison. NONE.
And Steven Hennessey gets the last word: I think the dating life is complex regardless.