I’m going on a quest.
I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for but I know it’s going to matter a lot – to my identity as a Canadian and a white girl and to my spirituality.
I’m looking for the story of how I got here. And not the existential explanation of why God put me here – more like the stories of what countries I come from, what my ancestors did to get here and what is and was my role in colonization.
I know nothing about these stories. Which seems odd. I’m 42 years old and the little I know about colonization is what I learned in grade school and the only ancestors I know anything about are my grandparents. (Are grandparents considered ancestors?) And even then, I don’t really know anything substantial about them or their parents or their grandparents or why we came to Canada, how we acquired land or what part we had in the writing of Canada’s history.
I do know one thing. When my son had to research his ancestors for a school paper, we learned my ancestors on both sides are from France and Belgium and have been here since the late 1500s. That information blew my mind. Why hadn’t I known this? Why didn’t the older generations keep the stories of our heritage alive? Why don’t I know how we came here, what choices led us to settle in Alberta and why we left our native countries? And where exactly did we live in our native countries? And if my family roots itself in the very beginning moments of Canadian history, what role did we play in the treaties made with the people that are native to this land?
As a side quest, I’m hoping this search also sheds light on my spirituality. I want to understand what spiritual practices my native country practiced before Catholicism took over. I don’t resonate with the religion I grew up with but from the very little research I’ve done so far, I know I resonate a lot more with the Celtic traditions that were rooted in France before the Romans took over. But what exactly were those Celtic traditions? How did they disappear from my country and are there people in my ancestors’ native countries still practising them now?
These are big questions and I am both excited and worried about what I’m going to find out. Will I like what I discover or will I hate that I opened this can of worms?
I guess only time will tell.
My first step is to pick up a couple books to help me understand white privilege (any suggestions?) and to talk to my mom and dad. These seem like the best places to start.
I’ll keep you posted