LETTERS: History of racism at Manitoulin Secondary School recalled

“People make other people feel small because they feel small”

To the Expositor:

I am not a parent of a student currently at MSS, but I attended the school in 1985. It was the first and only place that I’ve ever been called a ‘squaw.’

It didn’t bug me too much, because I knew at the time how ignorant people can be. I just said, “yep!” and kept walking. It did shock me, though, that my first experience with outright racism, was on my home ground, and I’d lived in Boulder, Montana, one of the whitest areas I’ve ever been in.

Racism is a blight on the Island that nobody chooses to combat against publicly.

I grew up with white people, and when they would say something about someone’s skin colour I would remind them about my skin colour, and they would say, “But you’re like us, so it doesn’t matter.”

I believe I was representing what the settlers wanted—to kill the Indian, save the woman.

I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin until I learned about my heritage, and my roots in my community. Now I am proud of who I am.

I’ve known all kinds of people, all over this continent. People make other people feel small because they feel small. People who are proud of who they are, try to lift others up, and help them out, not squash them!

Maybe the problem is not what’s on the outside of the body, maybe it’s what’s inside.

Maybe the staff needs to take a look at what they’re doing, and the message they’re portraying. 

Annette Cada