Monday, December 08, 2008

What is your own cultural identity?

My cultural identity is 50 % Finn, 25% English, and 25% Irish. However, I consider myself to be Northern Ontario Canadian rather than European.

I was born in North Western Ontario. I grew up on a farm, and went to high school in a paper mill town. My husband grew up in Toronto but we met at University in Thunder Bay, and Ned never returned to the big city. I’ve lived all my life in Northern or North Western Ontario close to nature and quietness, far from urban centres. Because I am descended from European pioneers I suppose that I am a coloniser although I’ve never really felt like one.

In high school some of my Catholic friends would volunteer at the Indian residential school where native children lived who had been taken from their families. Residential schools were there in the background of my childhood, and they are an embarrassing atrocity now. All of white Canadians feel guilty about the residential schools.

I was brought up in the country on a farm with a big vegetable garden. It was ten miles from anywhere, yet at the same time it was on the Trans Canada highway. I spent so much time alone as a child.

I’ve raised my children in Northern Ontario. I feel that Canada is my culture and that the North American quilt made by European pioneers is a true expression of my culture. I’ve made traditional quilts for over twenty years. I’ve treated them as narratives written in a secret code.

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Thank you for taking the time to connect. Much appreciated.xx