New Fire

Lisa Charleyboy: why I choose to 'date native'

It's true, I want to partner with a native man, and one who has Indian status. I also would love if he is connected to his culture and has over 25 per cent blood quantum.
New Fire host Lisa Charleyboy explains the difficulty and importance of dating indigenous.

Last year I wrote an opinion piece for CBC Aboriginal that got quite a bit of attention.

I opened up about how I'm looking for love in only… Native places.

It's true, I want to partner with a Native man, and one who has Indian status. I also would love if he is connected to his culture and has over 25 per cent blood quantum.

Well, that didn't go over so well. I got a lot of flack about that last bit. Many Aboriginal people didn't get why I would choose this.

So let's take it back a bit.

My father's Tsilhqot'in from Tsi Del Del reserve in the interior of British Columbia, and my mother was a Christian missionary born in California who came to the reserve on a mission. And not a mission to fall in love, but she did. She fell head over heels with my father, they got married and she moved to the rez.

But back in those days, there weren't a lot of interracial marriages. My mom never really fit in, despite her best efforts.
And my father really struggled to find a balance between being a good Christian man and being a Tsilhqot'in Chief rooted in culture. 

When I was four my father committed suicide and my mother was blamed.

My two brothers and I left the rez fast and furious and I was raised in the suburbs... separate from my culture and my Tsilhqot'in family. I have felt that loss my entire life.

But at least having that connection to one community helped me feel grounded, and eventually I found my way back home. 

I don't want that feeling of loss for my future child. I want them to feel grounded and connected to culture and community.

Which is why I choose to "date Native."