I am Madelaine McCracken and I am Métis.
It has taken me years to be comfortable to say this statement aloud and connect with my identity. Every day, I am working to understand what being Métis means to me and to my family, as we did not grow up with culture, but we did grow alongside systemic harms, racism, colonialism, and assimilation.
When my mother was young, she usually had two braids down her back, weaved by her mother with good medicine. Unfortunately, my mother faced racism due to the colour of her skin, but she never forgot the love that surrounded her and that surrounds us to this day.
As I grew, I understood why this happened to her, why our language of Michif-French didn’t get passed along to us, and why my mother had my brother, sister, and I learn French instead. A place to honour our family, yet none of us had the full picture… not the picture we have now. My mother was not taught Michif-French because her mother wanted to protect her and provide safety. This protection turned generational and it’s why I am now starting my journey to learn my language.
I dedicate my time to support the educational journeys of others, especially educators, as they are the ones primarily teaching children and youth. In our communities, we say that children and youth are our gifts. Children and youth hold the ability to truly action and reflect upon what Truth and Reconciliation means to them. They hold this ability due to their compassion, empathy, and awareness of how they can make a difference.
Some resources I would share with educators and general community members, even children and youth, explore the processes of ‘truth-telling’ and ‘action-taking’, both important to the work of Truth and Reconciliation. I developed a Linktree™ filled with free resources, videos, podcasts, and books to begin this journey. It is meaningful to share that this begins with you, your understanding of Canada’s history, and your relationship with Métis, First Nations, and Inuit peoples.
This year, I will not be celebrating Canada Day. Instead, I will be wearing orange as I am still mourning the loss of our community members that were taken from us due to the Residential Schooling System. These impacts are here and now; they are still present, and these emotions and experiences sit with each of us every single day. That is why on July 1, I am going to create space on my Instagram @Madelaine.McCracken / @EducateTheEarth to share more information about Métis, First Nations, and Inuit peoples and our stories, work, advocacy, and healing.
I share my story and educational journey as a place to acknowledge my family: an offering of where we come from and honouring where we are going. My family is strong and filled with resilient individuals. My sister just graduated with her first university degree, my brother is a successful makeup artist, and my ‘Momma Bear’ moved back home to Treaty 1 (being Winnipeg, Manitoba) to be with family.
To now recognize the spaces I am taking, my privilege due to my whiteness, and the steps I’ve taken to be an ethical and passionate educator and researcher… This path is rooted in sharing good medicine and acknowledgement of ancestors and community. I’ve made mistakes, but I continue to learn.
I am proud, I am appreciative, and I am grateful to walk this path.
I am Métis.
All my relations,
Madelaine McCracken, M.Ed.
Métis Curriculum Scholar, Certified Educator, Métis Nation of Alberta Member
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.