It's a Matter of Identity.
So, I've known I was part Cree since the late eighties, but I look like an Indian that's been painted with Irish & Norwegian colours... Not Indian enough by the old standards in Canada at the time. I missed out on the feeling of brotherhood and fitting in with a more caring culture that respects individuals as opposed to getting ahead, but that's a different story. And I've always felt the lack, that's for sure
A few years ago, there's been a lot of movement towards reconciliation with Indigenous people in Canada which created a lot of change of definitions. And they've re-evaluated what defines an Indigenous person. Since my grandfather was mostly Cree, and he raised as a Metis and in that culture, that makes me a non-status Indian. --> Regardless of colouring. The family left Brandon when my mother was in her teens. And I have no idea what they went through in that time and place to make that type of decision, but they never, ever told us about our heritage at any point. They passed and it just disappeared from our history. It makes you feel very rootless, actually.
It's good to know now, and explains a lot for me personally, as I have a closeness to nature (shows in my art!) and an Indigenous style that developed on it's own.
As few years ago, I was contacted by Dalhousie University here in Nova Scotia, and was hired to teach the fall 2018 Contemporary Indigenous Art course.
What an eye-opener! I no longer feel embarrassed by not being raised in my grandfather's heritage/culture. This happened to a lot of Indigenous people in Canada. So, I'm not alone, and it's really good because I'm getting to feel like I'm more me after all this It's a matter of identity indeed!