Materials required: set up class to conduct an interview, logbook, paper and crayons or markers
There is consistent conflict between my personal identity and my lived experience of identity. I may feel like an on-traditional territory Mi’kmaw person but am still dismissed as an off-reserve Indian or an urban Aboriginal person.Pamela Palmater
Many Indigenous people now live outside their community—some are in large centres, such as Miramichi. There are many reasons why Indigenous people feel compelled to leave the reserve.
- It is difficult to find work in a community that is small and isolated
- There may be social problems on the reserve such as drug and alcohol abuse, political infighting, and poor and overcrowded housing
- Some Indigenous women and youth require access to housing off-reserve
- Many young people go to the city to attend university, community college or other educational institutions
- The city may have its own appeal as an exciting place to be
On the negative side, living in a city will mean not having immediate access to the land. This can be very difficult for some Wabanaki. Losing kinship ties makes life difficult away from home. In the larger centres, it is harder to maintain Indigenous languages and culture. Sometimes Wabanaki experience racism in larger towns and cities.
From the list of Indigenous people who have offered to give presentations in school (interviwee can be conctacted through https://world-of-wisdom.ca), ask someone who does not live in the community in which they were born for an interview. Have the students prepare some questions for them and invite them to visit your classroom. Have the students take notes when the guest answers. Some of the questions might be:
- Where were you born?
- Where else have you lived?
- What kind of jobs or lifestyle (student, etc.) have you known?
- What do you like about life where you live now?
- What do you miss about your home community?
- What is one of the biggest changes that you have experienced between where you were born and where you are living now?
- Do you have family with you or nearby?
- What advice would you give to young people growing up today who are considering moving?
When students have finished their interview and the guest has left, ask them if they heard good advice or a saying that spoke to them. Have each student write down their choice of advice or saying and add an illustration representing what was said. Pin these in a prominent place in the classroom. Did the guest talk about their vision of a prosperous future for all-off reserve Indigenous people in New Brunswick? What did they say?