Today August 9, is recognized as the International Day of World Indigenous Peoples
To celebrate, we sat down with our very own Visual Content Manager, D’Andrée Galipeau, and spoke to her about her experience being an indigenous woman.
1. Hi D’Andrée! Thanks so much for talking with us today. First things first, what is your cultural background and how do you identify?
D: I identify as tri-racial but my background doesn’t feel like slices of one pie, but 3 full pies at all time. My mother is First Nations (Cree & Algonquin), French Canadian, Irish, English, Scottish, German and Welsh. My father is black with roots in Texas and Louisiana, but I’ve done an Ancestry DNA test and know that my African roots come from many countries including Benin, Togo, Nigeria, and Cameroon.
2. What is something you want to bring more awareness to for those not knowledgeable about the indigenous community? Or What is in a issue you believe needs more awareness within the indigenous community?
D: There is a beautiful passage I read recently in a book called Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for Living Spirit-Based Change by Sherri Mitchell. The author reflects on the mindset taught through the American/colonized school system that European settlers came to this continent and developed and took over the land. The truth is that living, breathing, civilized people were already living here and the settlers took over through harmful and genocidal methods. The author (who grew up on the Penobscot Indian Island Reservation) continues the reflection that in her tribe, they acknowledge that it was not our weakness that allowed people to take over, but it was the fact that Indigenous people were vibrating in a wavelength that attracted these oppressors for things they did not have. That spirit will always live in indigenous people no matter our mixes, and when the time comes when the ancestors of the oppressors ask Indigenous people to repair all that was destroyed, all I hope is that they approach with humility and willingness to do the work with us that was never offered in the first place.
3. What is your favorite thing about being an indigenous woman?
D: Every single thing is my favorite thing about being an indigenous woman. I am so thankful to have such a strong tether to my past. My family is deeply focused on our roots and I have extensive family trees I can access in most directions. Unfortunately, my great-grandmother was forced into a residential school, which plagued Canada through the last couple of centuries with the attempt to disconnect Native youth from their heritage. We’ve lost our access to our native language, but our physical genes have stayed strong. I’ve seen photos of my ancestors and we look very similar. When I go back to the area in Canada where my family lived for generations I can feel unexplainable pulse that brings me peace to my soul.
4. Who are your favorite indigenous artists?
D: I have so many indigenous artists that I fangirl over, but since this is a label I can focus on my favorite indigenous musicians. Being specific to Indigenous American artists, I always check into any new releases by Northern Cree so I can hear Powwow/Round dance drumming music in my tribe’s native language. There are so many amazing indigenous artists working on progressing native traditions as well. I am a big dance/electronic music fan and The Halluci Nation (FKA A Tribe Called Red) and Tomahawk Bang are revolutionizing the sound of powwow drums to fit new electro styles of music.