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Dinsdag mei 17: The story of Elaine

Elaine is the wife of my cousin Mathew. She is original indigenous. Because of the stories that have surfaced lately on the treatment of indigenous  children, we were very interested in her story.


Elaine belongs to the Gambler First Nation Band. The language and terminology has become laden and is changing. So now we don’t talk about a tribe but about a band. We also do not talk about being an Indian but having an indigenous background or being aboriginal.


Her grandmother turned blind in her twenties. Was this the reason her children were taken away, or was it being indigenous. Now the family thinks the latter.


At a young age Elaines mother, Rosalie was taken away and put in a residential school with the nuns. She was sort of lucky, because she was able to speak French. Therefor she got a better treatment. Because, be sure, roots such as language and culture was beaten out of the kids. The kids had to learn latin, anything but their native language.


After high school Rosalie met William. She was young, but he knew directly: that is the wife I want to marry. And so they did. William was half indigenous. The culture thing was not being talked about. The effort was directed to integrating as much as possible.


Happily enough, after a long life of discrimination, things are starting to turn. Elaine has now a registered treaty number. This means that her status is being recognized, there are some benefits and the next 3 generations will be able to carry this status.