For this article I will purposely not be naming those that are accused due to respect for Tina Fontaine and Colten Boushie. In recent events two young Indigenous warriors were taken from us. The attitudes shown throughout the trials of Tina and Colten show how Indigenous people are perceived, we have still seen no justice for the loss of their lives. They were taken from us by white men, these men are guilty of murder and it makes me sick to my stomach to find how the canadian justice system can justify their violence towards Indigenous children and the attitudes that canadians hold toward Indigenous people. They were acquitted of their charges and walk free among us. Knowing this I feel unsafe for myself, my partner, my family, my friends, and every Indigenous person in canada.
My heart is heavy after hearing the verdicts in the trials of Tina Fontaine and Colten Boushie. I want to write these out of love and rage for the families at this time. We deserve more and so do our Indigenous youth. The justification of our suffering needs to stop. canada needs to take responsibility and canadian society needs to recognize the harm that is ongoing. I am tired of seeing our people hurt, I am tired of seeing the endless amount of pain we face. We need to uphold our youth, our women, our men, and our elders. We will find strength. I am writing these letters to my younger siblings because they deserve more than what this society has to offer them.
To My Brother:
Since the day you were born my heart has never felt so much love, it is amazing how every day you grow smarter, the words you speak and write surprise me because I never thought these days would come so fast. Right now, you are six years old and I remember when you began to walk, run, talk and laugh. You are so young but at the same time you remind me of an omahkiinaan (old man). I want to recognize you because you have changed my life I am so happy you are my little brother. I know one day you will grow up, and this society will force you to grow up faster than most children your age, I do not want you to be scared, but we live in a system that doesn’t recognize how special you are to me and our family. I am scared for you every day but I know the creator and our ancestors take care of us even though I am not there, physically, to protect you. I know in my heart that you will be a great example of what an Indigenous man is. I want you to grow up and be proud, I want you to drum and speak Blackfoot and you deserve every opportunity to do that. I know you will face things in your life because you are a Niitsiitapii, this means you are a Real Person, you come from this earth, but remember you are strong because you will be proud and the words and actions that are done to you will not affect you because of your strength and resilience.
To My Sisters:
You all will impact the lives of those around you, your kind hearts will heal, and you will lead in example of what it means to love unconditionally. I think of all three of you every day, you are all wise beyond your years. You all show me the importance of why we need to take care of each other. I want you to grow up to be confident, influential, strong, empowered Indigenous women and I know you are all already on the right track. You will hear and see and go through things that will try to disempower you, I know you will get frustrated and mad and upset but with your resilience I know you will be the first to help those before yourselves. I need you to understand that since you are Indigenous women you hold so much power and canadian society doesn’t want you recognize your own gifts. Whatever you see in the news or on television about our other Indigenous sisters remember that it’s the colonial structure that invented the way we are seen as Indigenous people and it’s not true what is said about us. I know I shouldn’t worry, but I do and will continue to worry for you because it is not fair to feel the way we do. I know in my heart that you will do good things and when you get older you will continue to learn and understand and grow to be warriors.
I write these letters to show that what is happening is real, we do not want any more harm inflicted on our children. All of this colonial violence, and systemic racism, is a sad reality. When you read this remember to recognize the young ones who are coming, they are learning and understanding what they need to do. We deserve more, and so do our children. Justice for Tina, and Justice for Colten.