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Arlana Bennett: Picking cans with my father became our tradition

Filed Under: First Nations in Canada | Opinion
More on: arlana bennett, race, racism, residential schools
     
   

Artwork: Nick Kenrick

As a "white-passing indigenous person," Arlana Bennett (Anishinaabe) experiences discrimination through different eyes -- an off-hand remark by a colleague returns her to the days of picking cans with her father, whose own childhood was affected by his years at a residential school:
You see them, but you look away. They're on sidewalks, rummaging through garbage cans and peering into dumpsters. They carry bags full of cans, bottles and juice containers.

At any point in the day, you can walk down a street in this country and see someone sifting through garbage for recyclables. Old people, young people, Indigenous people, people from different races, countries and cultures.

Everyone has their reason for doing it; extra cash, a quick buck. Maybe to get enough change for a sandwich or a coffee. But sometimes, and not very often, you come across someone picking cans who looks just a little out of place.

Read More on the Story:
Arlana Bennett: How pickin' cans with my dad shaped my view of Canada (CBC 4/17)


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