Audrey Siegl, Musqueam

, 25/03/15

sχɬemtəna:t / Audrey Siegl kʷənəs kʷix.  təniʔ cən ʔə ƛ̓ xʷməθkʷəy̓əm.  χʷəy̓χʷiq̓tən ʔiʔ Celina August kʷθə nə sile:ɬ. 
( My name is sχɬemtəna:t / Audrey Siegl.  I am from Musqueam.  The late χʷəy̓χʷiq̓tən, Stephen August, and Celina August are my Grandparents. )

My journey to finding myself as a Musqueam woman began six years ago when I decided to let go of the shame I had been carrying my whole life.  I was ashamed of being an Indian.  Ashamed of myself, my family and my history.  I started our UBC-Musqueam collaborative on-reserve hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language course and 35 years of pain and guilt came to the surface, and with much work and support, that pain and guilt evaporated off of me.   That shame has now been replaced with pride.  Now, I have pride in knowing who my people are.  Who they have always been.  I have pride in our history, in knowing we have been here since the 1s sunrise.  When I use the words my ancestors used, walk on the ground they once walked on and now rest in, I feel complete.  I feel empowered.  I feel connected.

I am learning about myself and my people everyday.  I was lucky to be raised by Granny Celina, from a very young age.  I have benefited greatly from the time I spent with her.  I value and try to live the traditional ways she taught me.  I was also raised by my Dad in East Van.  I have lived in two worlds my whole life. I have learned, like all Urban Indians do, to navigate between the On-Reserve and Off-reserve worlds.  I have a foot in each world and I find a different kind of strength in world.  I am a mix of modern and traditional.  I am doing my best to make my ancestors proud.