Many aspects of my identity, particularly over the last few years, have been linked to my relationship to my Algonquin community and the town where it is located. It has framed how others think of me and how I think of myself in relation to others.
But going back home and working within the community in ways I never had before has ,e questioning my claim to this identity in ways I thought I had moved past. I’ve often struggled to deal with the question of whether or not I an Indigenous enough or Algonquin enough. Before I had been battling questions from non-Indigenous folk asking if since I didn’t have status if I’m really native, but this time around I’m battling with questions from me wondering if I can claim this identity that when I’ve spent so much time away while others have been there fighting the fight.
However reconsidering the idea of diaspora. Merriam-Webster defines diaspora as: a group of people who live outside the area in which they had lived for a long time or in which their ancestors lived. I do fit this definition. But to me when I think about the term diaspora there are many other aspects and nuances that come to mind. I think about people maintaining connections and history with their past and origins. It also brings to mind people supporting their home and community while living away.
I do like to think I have done this in some ways. I like to think in some ways I have been fighting the good fight just in a different way. I have supported Indigneous student activism at McGill and in Montreal and I’ve supported Mohawk students in working towards post-secondary education.
So maybe my identity is to be for now, part of the diaspora and recognize I have been fighting the good fight from a different angle, but each battle leads towards resurgence.