Greetings from George

PJ_bckgrnd_2Greetings readers, my name is George Jacques, but my friends call me PJ.  I am a Mi’kmaq from Listuguj, QC, and I will be writing the Native issues blog regularly in hopes of sharing experiences and answering questions that you as readers, both Native and Non-Native, will have.

Before I begin I would like to share something with you. I took Introduction to Native Studies and failed it. I know – how does a Native fail Native Studies? I’m sharing that with you to spark your curiosity, and ultimately raise doubt in regards to the quality of our education as First Nations. This however, will be discussed at a later time, once we get to know one another.

I moved to Fredericton at the beginning of 2006, and since then I have been through cycles of a recurring identity crisis. I ask myself typical questions like “who am I?” and “what does being Native mean in 2009?”

On several occasions over the last few years I have noticed a slogan on stickers, shirts and hats that declares “Native Pride,” but only recently has it sparked my curiosity. What is Native Pride? Who has it? Do I have it? Easy questions to ask, but do they offer simple and clear-cut answers?

Of course, I am proud of being Mi’kmaq but does my pride extend to slogans imprinted on shirts? Can something so vague as pride be captured in a simple slogan? I asked a close friend who is also Mi’kmaq what he thought about the slogan.

He replied, “You can’t have Native Pride unless you speak your language.”

Now here is where this topic gets sticky, we both cannot speak Mi’kmaq (yet). I am optimistic that my efforts to learn will pay off eventually, but what does that mean for me right now in my journey to learn my language?

Any thoughts?

I am always up for discussion. My email is [email protected], so feel free to send me your thoughts, questions, comments or complaints (put Native Issues in subject box) and I will get back to you as fast as I can.d