As I enter week three of InvisiblePeople.tv’s Canadian Road Trip I am going to at least attempt to start sharing the story of aboriginal homelessness the best I can. Being candid, I still have so much to learn, and I may never be able to give it all the justice the aboriginal story deserves. Because of the long history and cultural differences, this will not be an easy story to tell. But it is a very important story that must be told.
I first met Adrian Wolfleg, Strategist for Aboriginal Initiatives with Calgary Homeless Foundation, last March when I was speaking in Calgary. Adrian preformed a naming ceremony giving me a Blackfoot name. My name is Be-You-Mahk-Ah, which means “travels far”. Being blessed with this name is one of the greatest honors of my life, but what really messed me up was when Adrian explained a little more about this name and it’s meaning in this interview.
The aboriginal population is disproportionate in homelessness around Canada. Although this conversation may bring up some history we don’t want to remember, residential schools for example, my hope and prayer is we can all continue the healing process looking forward to solutions.
As many of you know I love all cultures, yet it would be ignorant of me to say I completely understand something I am not. While telling this story there is something from my past I don’t share with many people that is bound to come out. As we travel together down this road of discovery and healing I ask everyone to keep an open mind, and to not point fingers of failures – but to focus on solutions. I am going to do the best I can to augment the aboriginal homeless stories on InvisiblePeople.tv with interviews from people like Adrian, so as to open a conversation of hope.