Guest Speaker: Mique'l Askren/Dangeli

by ShannontheMuse
Last updated 6 years ago

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Guest Speaker: Mique'l Askren/Dangeli

I was surprised by how young she was. And she was already known and published! I was in awe the entire time Mique'l spoke to us, and in agreeance with much of what she said.

I am very attuned to how the general population, and even Indigenous people themselves, represent Indigenous people to the world: as people that clearly look Indigenous. Where are all the white-skinned, blonde or red haired, blue eyed Indigenous people? It is interesting.... I know I am not the only one by far with this issue of identity. It parallels the entire identity crisis faced by my ancestors and other Métis peoples long ago... And then Kendra, without a drop of Native blood to her knowledge, is commonly mistook as an Indigenous woman. I don't have a solution, or even believe this is a real problem compared to other problems facing humanity, it is just something I find very interesting: the fact that all of us make judgements based on appearances every day.

It was only the next day when I was in discussion with some of my peers that I began critically reflecting on Mique'l's visit. Nathalie brought up the question I asked Mique'l: about the interviews with Indigenous women I was doing for my class project. Nathalie asked how I felt about Mique'l response. I didn't think anyone else had noticed... it is a common occurrence for me, and so subtle. In response to my question, Mique'l said "It's great that you are talking to Indigenous women........" and it sort of hit me in the stomach - "Yupp. She doesn't include me as an Indigenous women," I thought. It really wasn't a big deal, I know I look very European, but I could feel my face getting red. I basically did not even realize I felt that way until Nathalie brought it up and said "Yeah, but I noticed. It must hurt." In response, "Yeah. I definitely felt it. But I mean - what am I supposed to say?" Casually mentioning that I was Indigenous too wouldn't have sounded to casual to my ears - and it would have seemed very much like I was trying to prove myself. No. I would still not have mentioned it.



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