This summer I did a little bit of travelling. I don’t go out of my neck of the woods often, but every now and then I will take a trip to a city.
For the past several years, I’ve been living in isolation, for the most part. Not totally, but far enough away to work on my health and writing projects.
I live by a huge lake where I spent a part of my childhood. About the only time I travel to the closest town is for supplies and to go to the library. Since I don’t have Internet where I live, I do most of my writing at the library. It’s a small town, but the library is awesome.
Early in the spring I decided to travel a bit. If there is one thing I learned, it is that I am no longer a city person.
Having grown up on a trap line and then moving onto my home reserve, I didn’t see an actual town until I was about nine years old. I didn’t even know a world existed beyond our cabin by the lake.
I remember clear as day when my family walked the 50 miles for a vehicle to pick us up. This would have been my first car ride. The vehicle took us into a small town where another person picked us up and drove us to our reserve.
What stood out were the people. I couldn’t believe the people, even though it was a small town. Eventually I hit an age where the federal government thought it would be a good idea to take First Nations children and place them all over the world. The residential school experience wasn’t even phased out when the government decided “The Scoop” was the next direction.
All my brother and sisters, including me, were placed in homes where my identity would be erased. In one home, the social worker told me to tell them I was an Italian even though I spoke fluent Cree. I was one of the lucky ones, because I ended up in some pretty good homes. It also enabled me to see my first city.
Throughout my journey in foster homes, group homes and temporary homes, I would run away. Thinking back, I believe I ran away because that is what my mom would want me to do. Maybe it’s rationalization, but I truly believed my mother would never want me to be held against my will.
A few times, while being a fugitive, I ended up in Edmonton. This was my introduction to “living” in a city. I hung out with other runaways or kids from the North who sought a better life. We didn’t do anything illegal; we were just trying to survive.
As I travelled from one city to another this summer, I noticed things haven’t really changed. It’s basically the same stage with different actors. Having had a life filled with addictions, the city is not a healthy place for me.
I thought I would be strong enough by now, but the temptations are all over the place. I’m back in my neck of the woods again. It’s where I belong.
KNCREE at gamil.com