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Audrey |
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Growing up Indigenous in Canada is tough. It’s a road fraught with challenges that many of us approach with divided beliefs and an unstable foundation. Many generations are left with parents who don’t know how to love and care for their families because they struggle to even love themselves. These lost generations often find themselves in the care of the ones that might have a better understanding on how to put love into practice: their grandparents. Audrey is no exception. “I grew up in the care of my grandmother”, she remembers. “My mother left my sister and me in the care of my father at an early age. He did the best he could but raising two girls on your own is a challenge and he often relied on my grandmother for support. More often than not I was in her care.” She remembers a childhood filled with tradition and teachings from her grandmother and the community of elders that she belonged to. But despite being a caregiver and having a better understanding that perhaps Audrey’s parents did, her grandmother too belonged to a generation of forgotten Indigenous people, lost and wanting. “My grandmother was no saint. We were raised in a severe environment where punishment was swift. She was a hard woman with unresolved traumas of her own and she passed those down to us.” This is a path many of us struggle to navigate; trying to find peace with our past while also trying to find our place, walking the divide between a corrupted home and a hostile world. “My sister and I carried this intergenerational suffering with us and found comfort in the wrong things. Drugs. Men. We were both beat up.” Audrey weeps as she tells her story. “I lost my sister and my mother to drug overdoses. I’m lucky because I was able to pull myself from the darkness but it makes me angry that I couldn’t lift my family from the same depths.”

Audrey uses this pain to fuel her efforts now. She speaks to and helps guide Indigneous people going through the same journey as her. “I offer my help to the ones struggling. I try to be the light in the darkness I needed when I was young. The trauma from generations past ends with me.” Though she still struggles with the emotional weight of her and her grandmother’s past she also acknowledges the power of tradition that was imbued to her by the same woman, “If it weren’t for the community and cultural teachings I grew up with I wouldn’t be walking the path of kindness and acceptance today.”

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