Canada | Opinion

Terese Mailhot: Native women care what happens to all our sisters

Terese Mailhot. Photo from Facebook

The controversy over Canadian author Joseph Boyden and his claims of indigenous identity aren't over. Writer Terese Mailhot (Seabird Island Band) offers a response to someone who described the affair as a "lynching":
I’d like to take Konrad Yakabuski out of his quaint, frolicking, necktie-wearing lifestyle, where he seems to pontificate over the aesthetics of downtown Toronto more than he ever contemplates missing and murdered indigenous women, and ask him to step into the life of one of us. p>

Did you know, Yakabuski, my cousins were called ‘chugs’ in high school. Nevermind their parents’ sobrieties, or lifestyles; Native kids were simply identified, without their consent, as ‘chugs.’ It’s in reference to alcoholism, and its assumed prevalence in our communities, as if white communities don’t have a problem with substance abuse, but never mind that. p>

Did you know, Konrad Yakabuski, I’ve been heckled? My First Nations friends have been sexually harassed when they take public transit in Vancouver. Men have asked me, “How much?” and it didn’t matter I was wearing a zipped up hoodie, and it didn’t matter when I was 12 either. My Salish features are a detriment after a certain hour, on certain streets, in certain cities.

Read More on the Story:
Terese Mailhot: Sit Down, Konrad Yakabuski, and All Other Yakabuskis (Indian Country Today 1/18)

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Terese Mailhot: Author seeks pity after Indian identity questions (1/10)
Doug George-Kanentiio: Author exploits mythical Native identity (1/6)