After the verdict: Tania Cameron is putting reconciliation 'on the shelf'
Tania Cameron said she burst into tears when she heard the decision in Colten Boushie's death. But they weren't tears of sorrow.
"It was more of a rage, a burning rage," Cameron said.
The mom of three, whose home community is Dalles First Nation, said she thinks of what the aftermath of the acquittal will mean for her teenaged children.
"I have a 15, 16, and 17-year-old that I'm raising in Kenora. I worry for them. I wonder what kind of future they have," she told Unreserved host Rosanna Deerchild.
"I'm doing my best as an Anishinaabe mom to raise them on values, to understand their history and their place in today's society and the obstacles they have to overcome."
I'm too heartbroken right now to talk about reconciliation.- Tania Cameron
Cameron started preparing her children from a young age to face racism. She would role play different scenarios in their home so they would have the right words when it became a reality.
She remembers one such incident when her daughter was in elementary school. Working with a classmate, another student stuck her head through the doorway.
"She just said she hated all brown people. That they're dirty. [My daughter] was so angry. She jumped up and she told her 'Shut up! You don't say that to me.' For my daughter to be in Grade 3 and already have to use her words that way, I was proud of her. But it hurt me to know that children at that age already have that mindset taught to them," Cameron recalled.
She said all of that preparation still didn't prepare her or her family for the ruling in Saskatchewan. For now, she is putting reconciliation aside.
'It's on the shelf'
"I have children and grandchildren down the road. I'll have to pick it up but I'm too heartbroken right now to talk about reconciliation. I know I hear about it in the news and the media, the government is saying these words. I don't feel it. And I don't see it so I'm just going to leave it for a little bit."
But Cameron is taking care of her community. She's already helped organize 'Justice for Colten' rallies in Kenora and Sioux Lookout. Next, is a teach-in. She calls it 'Justice 101'.
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"People want to learn and understand what exactly happened and we're going to have a real community discussion on it. So it sounds like I'm picking up reconciliation again. But I mean, it's life. I have to do this. I have an obligation to do this."
Cameron is also making sure to take care of her family and herself.
"I feel I need to take this time to mourn but you know, not to mourn for too long because there's work to be done."