I am saddened to learn that I have been suspended from the Senate again, and I think we all know why my colleagues threw me out: it’s because I recently revealed my First Nations heritage.
I am Métis, which I suddenly became aware of last month during anti-racism training, a fact which was used against me so I would fail the training course. This outrageous miscarriage of justice further reduces the number of Indigenous Senators who represent their peoples in the Upper Chamber.
When I realized that my parents adopting an Indigenous child made me Métis, I finally understood that all of the problems I’ve had as a Senator are the result of racism, specifically, racism against me. How others knew of my Métis heritage before I did, I do not know. I only know that vile racism against me is the only explanation for the way I’ve been treated.
For hundreds of years, Indigenous people such as myself, those who appear to be white and have no Indigenous ancestry, have had a different and deeper understanding of Indigeneity. Those letters I kept on my website for years were an important part of opening up a dialogue for reconciliation, perhaps one that went above the head of the settlers who then accused me of racism. When people said “you’re not Indigenous; you’re just racist” and “how could you possibly be a Senator with beliefs like that,” that was simply their attempts to silence a proud Indigenous woman.
Since becoming a Senator, I have faced loss of income and privilege to say what I want without consequence. Again, this is likely due to racism against me. But I ask, without authentic Indigenous voices such as mine, what hope does reconciliation have?
So I will take this suspension from the Senate, and the one after it, and the one after that, but know this: I will never be silenced.