Monday, September 5, 2016

A Conversation with a White Elder: Anonymous Awakening

Hi Sheena. This will be a bit of a ramble...I read your lovely gentle blog this morning...the discussion of racism and privilege goes around and around in my brain. It started with my own upbringing in the late 40s and early of total ignorance of Aboriginal people. The only "Indians" I ever saw were at the Regina exhibition where they had a row of tipis...then, as a teenager as a kid at the beach. I vaguely knew a of residential schools. So, essentially I was ignorant and indifferent. In the 80s I knew two families who had "scooped" children and the resulting problems associated with these kids as they became adults. Again, ignorant and indifferent. During my years working in the arts, the artists, especially Bob Boyer, and curator Lee Ann Martin were instrumental in opening my eyes. It was more of a spiritual perspective that they gave me. Invaluable. But, I didn't acknowledge or even know that white privilege existed until the Truth and Reconciliation process began. I do now. I understand it. It is a process for me. Baby steps. I have to let go of many things...we/they, fear, old attitudes, my own shame for not knowing, not caring while these people endured so much. Keep writing. Be patient with me! I'm listening. Thank you.

Absolutely beautiful, J. Would you be interested in me publishing this on my blog as a letter? I think we need to hear from our newcomer elders, like you.

I have no problem with that...but please don't use my name. Simply because it's MY journey...and intensely personal. I haven't been able to have this conversation with very many people...they don't want to hear it. I've lived 70 some years with a flawed perspective. And at this point I'm not very happy about that. I'm asking you to take my hand. Walk with me.

I'm very happy to do so. We could record these conversations anonymously, so others, who are also feeling the awkwardness in the newness-of-it-all can read your words and know they are not alone. I'm happy to have these conversations privately, too. Thank you for your trust in me as you share these deeply personal awakenings.

Thanks Sheena. Keep writing. I'll keep rambling. Lurching. Finding my footing. Thunder. A weekend with family. Summer's almost over... Let's enjoy every moment...even if it rains!

Well said. I always tell people, "Go forth and be awkward." I think your rambling and lurching has a lot of poetry going on, too.


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