“This decision is for the children.”

For the most part, the interview flowed more like a conversation. I hate interviews. Job interviews. I am getting used to them. I think. Maybe. Perhaps not, still unemployed, in the conventional sense (but able to survive).

I visited my school’s career and development centre after my friend suggested I go to them. I am glad I went.

I always struggle with interviews because I usually end up having to fight back the tears when I talk about my work that I do. I don’t even know if I can describe my work that I *do* but I can tell stories. I have a lot of stories. Some stories are funny and others, not so much. I have to be careful about the stories I reveal about myself.

When I visited the centre, I cried. He asked me about the latest piece I wrote for the Ottawa Citizen and why I wrote it. I told him. “It’s about the missing and murdered Indigenous women inquiry and sex work.” Looking out the window, I noticed the sun was shining. “And, often times when we talk about the missing and murdered, the voices of Indigenous sex workers are usually ignored or erased.” A perfect day for walking to an interview. “Well, and, it is these same people that everyone is worried about…the marginalized.” At the least the sidewalks are not icy. “Yet, it is these same voices that are shunned, shamed and ostracized from these discussions…”

I could no longer withhold my tears from steaming down my face. And, it happened in the interview I had.

I cry a lot. Sometimes people think crying is a sign of weakness. It’s not. I had someone tell me, after I started crying when I talked about Cindy Gladue, “You have to be stronger.” What. The. Actual. Fuck.

When I started crying in the interview, I was talking about the recent Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decision. I recalled working out west. I was living/working in Treaty 8 territory. While out west, I had the opportunity to attend Treaty 8 Elders gathering. It was a beautiful event which lasted for several days. At the event, there was a presentation on child welfare and efforts to keep children and youth in the community. In that presentation, they talked about how it is important to keep children in the community and the presenter referenced the previous media article. I remember reading that article when it first game out. The title reads, “Grand Chief ‘horrified’ Alberta quietly allows organ harvesting from children who die in provincial care.” 

The Grand Chief of Treaty 8 in Alberta says he was “horrified” to find out Alberta has a policy allowing for the harvesting of organs from children who die in the care of the province (aptn)

And, I remember sitting in this gymnasium with all these leaders and Elders talking about how to keep their children in the communities to stop this from happening – the removal of children and placing them into state care. The presenter talked about how communities and its leaders knew something was up. In one community, a youth would be taken out of state care, struggle, and commit suicide. Then, in another community, someone who needed a new liver would have a liver not long after. The presenter insinuated that outsiders, the government, think that communities don’t talk to each other, like as if they would not put two and two together. I said to the interviewer that this is what this decision means: keeping children in communities, with their families so that they are placed in state care, struggle with being away from family/loved ones, struggle, commit suicide and then have their organs harvested. When I write these words, to me, it is so blunt and scary but it’s the truth.

So, this decision means so much more than just services or monies in communities. It means that First Nations children have a fighting chance at surviving in a society that depends on their disappearance. Even as I write these words and as I attend law school, it really hurts me to study law because I don’t think the colonial legal education system does a good job in actually reminding law students that these decisions are so much more than words. They are attached to lived realities of actual fuckin human beings. Children. And, this is what I am always faced with in the colonial legal education system: This complete disassociation from discussions about decisions or the “law”… whatever that word means.  I just don’t know what else to say about this decision and how it means more than the discussions that have taken place in the media (i.e., monies, services, jurisdiction, etc). People’s … children’s lives are actually connected to the outcome of the decision. Like decision states at the outset, “This decision is for the children.

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