Linda - Fort Albany cree Northern James Bay, now living in Ottawa
«I participated in this Peoples Social Forum because of what has been going on in different native communities. The Social Forum is here to explain in details what is going on in each villages and communities, because aboriginals are losing a lot of their land, their identities, their status.
The pow-wow, that we’re trying to create for the youth to continue with our traditional values. Especially the dancing, the medicine wheels, theirs backgrounds, that is their identity. I wish for more work for the youth, but not in the mining, with all what’s going on. We just trying to get our rights back.
It took me 3 years before I converted to Islam, and then in 2007 I converted. I was searching for something. Seriously, I was sick and tired of the way I was living. You know, about residential schools survivors, I’m one of them…you tend to drink, to do drugs, you can’t talk to anybody. I tried many religions. I tried to help myself, and I was tired the way I was. Islam was my last chance. I just studied it for some time, converted, and now look at me, sober! Alcohol free! Now I’m just trying to help people, especially the youth. My hearth desires more youth to participate at these things (the pow-wows), they don’t have to be dancers, but to participate, to come to the workshops, all these things, to go to organizations just to get involved.
I try to bring Muslims people and try to incorporate Muslims community with the First Nations community, so they can work together, instead of working separated. Because that’s what’s I told them: we might as well work together. I’m a out reach coordinator for a Islam center, I work outside communicating with difference organizations. I do small workshops at the center, with indigenous people, for conversations. Explaining also to Muslims, what is our aboriginal reality, how much we get from the government, the treat rights, 4$ a year… I’m gonna do more, I’ll invite Native organizations to come to Muslim people, to give them the knowledge of our people, and talk about our issues. Muslim people they have problems, us, first nations, we have problems, we might as well work together somehow. »