Proud to be Indigenous
NEIGHBOURHOOD: REGENT PARK
THEME: SUPPORTING EACH OTHER
Talking about giving back, Indigenous voices, discrimination, reconciliation, community
Growing up, Taijah Abotassaway did not feel pride in being Indigenous and often denied that part of her identity. In her story she shares that she did not feel pride in her history and who she was until later in life. She reflects on the intergenerational trauma faced by many Indigenous Peoples and the systemic barriers they have overcome, and continue to face today. Taijah shares her hopes and dreams for reconciliation, and provides a clear directive for non-Indigenous people to act as allies to further combat stigma, discrimination and challenges that Indigenous community members still face. For Taijah, Reconciliation is simply being a better community: allowing people to take pride in who they are and where they come from, despite all the horrors that our shared history holds.
As a child, Taijah used to be a member of the Little Embers program at Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre. Now, as an adult, she is a staff person at Toronto Council Fire, providing youth with support to access their culture and face life’s many challenges. She feels privileged to support other youth in this way, both giving back to her community and also reclaiming her culture and history. Taijah has recently begun language classes to learn her native Cree language.