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Blog

Voices

Sara General

Lost writing is the saddest writing – the very first post I wrote for this new website disappeared in the template stage. At first I was upset that I lost the post, but maybe it’s better that I get a chance to write it anew, especially in light of the New Year. In the old blog post now lost to the ether, I explained that I was a writer who was discovering her voice. I also explained that nearly three years ago, I left my job working for a First Nation organization and that I had worked there for so long that I felt like my voice really wasn’t mine at all, but a watered down version of my voice trying to talk about the things that I cared about the most – people. Have you ever tried to talk through water? All that comes out is bubbles, air and muffled sound. It’s been an adventure trying to remember what my voice actually sounds like. I’ve been working at it for almost two years. I think I’ve gotten a lot closer.

 

I started a version of this website about two years ago because I wanted to share stories about my people and my community. Mostly because there are so many great stories but also because I wanted to respond in a positive way to the terrible things I read in the comment sections of newspapers whenever there’s an article written about Indigenous Peoples. Back then, I wasn’t sure how to deal with people who were not interested in learning about the relationship that Indigenous and non-Indigenous people are in (the Treaty relationship) or who were actually hostile and dismissive of it. And so I spent a lot of time watching and listening to how other people approached this. I watched how people talked about and shared their opinions, passions and interests online. I saw that the Internet could be a very loving place and also – a not so loving place. I saw that it was easy to get pulled into fighting with people about your ideas or actions. I saw that it was easy to get hurt and easy to hurt if one was so inclined. But I also saw tons of amazing people sharing their art, their knowledge and their stories and I was very inspired by it. I wanted to cheer these people on and I wanted to voice my appreciation of their work and their art, particularly if that work involved trying to make the world a more peaceful, kind and compassionate place; and especially if that meant working in the area of water (because I love water and we all need it to live). And in the meantime, I started blogging about different places and events in my community, to share the amazing things that are here at Six Nations. It felt good to focus on the positive.

 

Then I became I parent. Suddenly, all of those negative attitudes and comments became something I would ignore at my daughter’s peril. Especially as more and more Indigenous women became victims of violence. And though I can’t expect to change anyone’s mind about Indigenous Peoples, I don’t want my little girl to grow up believing the worst of us. I don’t want the education system or the media to colonize her and strip her of her identity. I don’t want her to become some institute or think tank’s statistic.

 

What do I want then?

 

I want her to be happy and I want her to proud of who she is. I want her to know as much of the truth about our history as I can give her. In other words, I want to be even more positive, more passionate, more creative, and more encouraging. And so that’s what I’m going to try and do here. Learn, ask questions, honour our ancestors, and be mindful of the coming generations. I want to use my voice and perhaps more importantly, I want to use a good mind to tell the truth and share it with her as best as I can.

 

Even though he’s coming from a slightly (markedly) different place then I am, Stephen King talks about this in his book On Writing: A Memoir on the Craft. He basically says you have to tell the truth when you write. I like this a lot because I like to explore the truth as it manifests in stories. I read things or dream things or think about things and then I write them down. In the lost blog I talked about the fact that there are great writers out there taking on trolls and challenging ideas, telling their truth as it relates to Indigenous Peoples. Some of them do so in these ways that make me crazy with envy. I can feel their truth leaping off the page or screen and it's really kind of amazing that anyone can think of retorts that quickly. And for a while I think I thought my truth should look a little bit more like theirs. Serious. Scholarly. Empowering. And that if it didn’t, I wasn’t doing it right. 

 

But of course, that’s ridiculous. We’re not all the same. Their style can’t be my style. I mean, on occasion I write scholarly things for my grad program but for the most part, I’m a fantasy nut and I like to write what I like to read. I love stories about magic and adventure. And guess what? Our legends are filled with magic and adventure. And so this year, I want to share some of what I’ve written with you here. And really, that is my New Years wish to you all as well, to find, treasure and love your voice. And then share it. Publish it. Put it out there. People like me are out there waiting to hear it and read it.  

 

On my blog you’ll still find me writing about topics that I’m passionate about: books, education, language, physics, spirituality, water and climate change. I’ll probably be writing a lot more about which publishing routes I will take and my experiences starting a small publishing company of my own for books in the Ogwehoweh languages. Whichever one of these reasons happens to bring you to this blog, I hope you find a small something that you enjoy! Nya:weh for taking the time to visit!

 

Nu:yah & happy writing!

S.