I grew up in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Thunder Bay is the hub of the north, a place where many people come to from the remote Northern reserves for medical care, shopping, and transportation.
It is also home to a large unconscious cultural bias against Indigenous people. Growing up, I was completely unaware of this bias, and it was only as a young adult when I began meeting more people from outside of my hometown and traveling to new places that I started to see the prejudice I was holding on to. I have spent time over the past decade working through the preconceived notions I held onto of the Indigenous culture. I started doing reading and asking more questions regarding why I was raised in a community that held such strong beliefs towards our neighbours.
When my husband and I moved to Southern Ontario I was exposed to a much more diverse community. Although the stigma still exists around Indigenous people, it is significantly less accepted here. I don’t think the residents of Thunder Bay are ‘bad people’, but I feel they have a lot of work to do on their own journey to Truth & Reconciliation.
I know we have a long way to go, myself included, but I think that being aware of my unconscious bias is the first step towards making changes within.
7 Fallen Feathers