There are many myths about First Nations and Métis people. The only way that we will be able to work together is to understand each other. Respect is the key to living a life of harmony amongst other cultures. Like all Unions, the key to thrive is to be inclusive. Understanding will bond us together.
I have lived in this beautiful province for 50 years now, grew up in the inner city of Regina, and now have lived at beautiful Regina Beach for a number of years now. My work has given me great opportunities to provide training in First Nations and Métis Awareness – especially dispelling myths and misconceptions of my community.
Racism has always been in places where different cultures coexist with each other and in many cases misinformation is usually spread around about the minority. It is my hope that I can dispel and provide you with information that will be helpful in the worksite for everyone there.
Let’s start off with terminology. My name is Lyle Daniels. I am a First Nations person from the Kawacatoose First Nation in southern Saskatchewan. The term “First Nation” is one description of my ethnic background but also is the community I come from. It is the latest word that has acceptance with most people from this community. My culture group is Cree, of which there are also the Dene, Saulteaux, Nakota/Dakota/Lakota and Assiniboine in Saskatchewan. Not Indian, Native, Indigenous, Status, Non-Status, Treaty or even Halfbreed. The term Aboriginal is one that is derived from Government, as is the term Indian. We tend to all hate government so in turn hate the use of these terms to describe who we are. So, if you have co-workers that are visibly of Aboriginal descent, they will most likely come from a community that is a First Nation and have a card to show that. That card by the way tells you in government’s eyes that we are First Nation. But nowadays you cannot go by colour alone. Blue eyed and blonde hair First Nations are out there – do not assume someone is or someone is not an Aboriginal person.
Aboriginal people are in Canada’s constitution but include First Nations, Métis and the Inuit. Something to think about is if you lined up all the Aboriginal people in Saskatchewan and all the non-Aboriginal people and looked at what was the age of the person in the exact middle, you would see the age of the Aboriginal community at 18 years of age. On the non-Aboriginal side, you would see a median age of 40 years of age. We are a young population, the fastest growing in all of Saskatchewan and Canada. There are approximately 110,000 First Nations people in Saskatchewan with approximately 55% living off reserve. At some point later in history, Aboriginal people will be the majority in Saskatchewan.
So, call me First Nations since I look so much like one that my profile could be used for the Chicago Black Hawks logo. Or even better, just call me friend.