To the editor,
I’m a 14-year-old trans aboriginal male. I am proud of the skin I wear, the blood of my ancestors I carry, but I have yet to fully know what I’m proud of.
I have read many books of Inuit history, most of them sharing stories of residential schools, the hurt and pain it has caused, the verbal, sexual and mental abuse kids had to deal with. Some never seeing their families for months or years. Some who couldn’t survive or were murdered. Some who come home to find their families gone or lost the ability to communicate with them. All of this causing a future where parents didn’t let their kids go to school. Where people can’t get a job. Many people are suffering because of the past and turn into alcoholics.
The state of Nunavut is bad. It’s the aftermath of the racist government that used religion as an excuse to try and turn aboriginal people white. We are healing at a slow pace yet the government still isn’t providing a stable educational system, proper hospitals, food that doesn’t cost three times the average, a place with no racist police, an actual law system and workers who will find murdered and missing Indigenous women and people.
Everything I wrote down is true, and I wish it wasn’t. There’s more the government doesn’t provide or help with but it’s too much to write down.
Nunavut is a happy place where I’d like to go back and live, where every place is a welcoming community. It celebrates many traditions and cultures. Nunavut has a terrifying past that needs to be acknowledged instead of ignored and will always stand strong. Government systems need to change. I will only begin to forgive when we start taking big steps towards recovery. I wrote ‘begin to forgive’ because I myself will never fully forgive because of the many deaths and abuse that has happened. I still feel clueless to the big picture but I hope this has brought some awareness of the outer realities of Canada’s northern government system.
Kye Payette, Nanaimo
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