Born into the Tse'khene Nation of McLeod Lake in the late sixties, my mother went to be with Creator when I was just four years old. My Dad, however took me to the reserve where I would spend the summer months eating bannock, dried meat, and berries. We would sleep three to a single bed, with boys on one end and girls on the other. My step mother would speak of our traditional ways, and invite people from the reserve to come stay with us. On occasion, I would hear our language, but the elders would not teach it to us, for fear of repercussions we would suffer for speaking it.
At the age of seven, I was apprehended by Children's Services under the AIM (Adopt Indian and Metis) Program that was prevalent across Canada at the time, and the assimilation process began. However, Creator, in his great wisdom provided ways for my culture to be preserved within the fabric of who he created me to be.
When the adoption fell through, I was moved into British Columbia's foster care system, where I would eventually be brought to a home in which my foster father was Haida Indian. This was not my own culture, but there were similarities. I spent much time with his Aunty, who I came to love, making bannock and hearing the stories of the ancient totems.
At the age of fifteen I came to Alberta where I was introduced to Cree culture. I sat in circles that always began with a smudge and listened as the elders shared their ancient wisdom. I went to sweat lodges where I would spend time praying while sweating out the toxicity that took hold of me through the emotional, spiritual, physical, and sexual violence I experienced while in the foster care system. I learned about traditional medicine that includes the teachings of the medicine wheel, medicinal plants, and walking with Creator.
Upon coming to Christ in the early 2000s I was told I would have to give up my Native ways. However, something in my heart ached, as I knew I had been knit together in the womb, created with intention and purpose and set within my culture for a reason.
It was then that I began praying and asking Creator to show me where my culture and my Christian beliefs can meet, and so my journey towards contextualized Christianity began. This has involved a decades long search to discover which aspects of my traditional culture I can keep, which ones need to be contextualized, and which ones I should walk away from altogether.
After graduating from the King's University in Edmonton with a Ba Psych and a minor in Sociology with a focus on Indigenous Issues I received a calling to "Sew the Cultures Together", which led me to take the Intercultural Studies program at Taylor Seminary in Edmonton, Alberta. This has helped me to understand how contextualization will help me return to my traditional roots.
I hope you will come join me as I share the findings of my journey.