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Terese Marie Mailhot

Essayist, Columnist, Indigenous Mother

Terese Mailhot is from Seabird Island Band. Her book "Heart Berries: A Memoir" is forthcoming from Counterpoint Press and Doubleday Canada. She is a Tecumseh Postdoctoral Fellow at Purdue University and creative writing faculty at the Institute of American Indian Arts. 
I've Justified Bad Native Art For Long

I've Justified Bad Native Art For Long Enough

Who wants to be caught criticizing another fellow native artist publicly? It's practically forbidden; better we keep to criticizing the millions of non-natives appropriating our work than to engage in the equally taxing effort of questioning ourselves. The vacant work of some native art is so lacking I've felt ashamed for staying quiet.
06/08/2017 04:21 EDT
First Nations Women Aren't Told They're Brilliant Nearly

First Nations Women Aren't Told They're Brilliant Nearly Enough

What about the wonderful women who are discouraged by hatred, by naysaying, by the abusive and unkind people who stand in their way, or by the institutions? They are exceptional, valued, underestimated and maybe "too much" in the best way. I believe they should be told.
06/06/2017 02:50 EDT
Being An Indigenous Woman In Canada Is To Feel

Being An Indigenous Woman In Canada Is To Feel Hunted

The reality, as I know it, is that I feel threatened. I feel a general threat to my life - that when people know I'm native they can judge me based on their limited experience with my people, and men can view me with a lecherousness they believe I deserve and ask for. We must continue to survive, carry these stories, and never be afraid to identify our culprits.
04/10/2017 10:27 EDT
Self-Help Isn't Enough For Native

Self-Help Isn't Enough For Native Women

The self as we know it is a Western construct - a white invention. Self-help, self-love and ascribing value to the self couldn't be more white, because it all amps up to the idea that people have quantifiable values and that value is directly related to meaning.
04/03/2017 11:43 EDT
Assimilation Isn't A 'Good Intention' Unless You're

Assimilation Isn't A 'Good Intention' Unless You're White

Senator Lynn Beyak, a member of the Canadian senate committee on Aboriginal People, was criticized for saying there were some "good things" about residential schools. It's unconscionable to do that, because it defies logic. The impetus for those schools was evil.
03/29/2017 04:48 EDT
First Nations Living In Poverty Will Change The

First Nations Living In Poverty Will Change The World

Nobody saw me until I had a degree. Nobody gave a damn about me in foster care, or worse, they tried to save me -- to show me how horrible Indians were, and that I should assimilate into the culture of normalcy, the every day: the middle class default.
03/24/2017 11:54 EDT
The Journey To Connect With My White

The Journey To Connect With My White Roots

There have been family stories about my white roots, something so dark and painful it's hard to articulate the specifics of it. I have a frail, white Victorian era ancestor, which explains my affinity for chaise lounges, large hats, and lethargy. It's a glorious thing to discover yourself in your roots. But it's been hard. There have been a few things I've done to reconnect with my white lineage.
01/27/2017 01:39 EST
Society Enables Men To Hurt Indigenous Women With

Society Enables Men To Hurt Indigenous Women With Impunity

I think part of it is because these men don't believe indigenous women feel pain the way others do, that we can handle pain, and we're not valued as much as others. Because if the government, the police, the media and the majority don't care for indigenous women's lives, why should these men?
01/26/2017 01:41 EST
Sexism Lives Within Indigenous And Liberal

Sexism Lives Within Indigenous And Liberal Organizations

There are a lot of kind, educated, empowering and reasonable men in our communities, but sometimes they fail to acknowledge what we deal with. Sometimes there's so few of us working at an organization that we become representative of Native American Women concerning every issue, no matter our personal experiences, or specializations, or politics on representation.
01/18/2017 08:16 EST
For My Brother, The

For My Brother, The Protector

Mom thought my brother could intuit the future. Her assumptions weren't baseless; she was a historian. As Nlaka' pamux, we've been known to see things, like the white man before he came, or Jesus before the text. It's all in the history books, trying to dismantle the Other. He got his name from his dad, Tona. We think it translates to, "a place of hope," but our ways prevent rendering the name. After 32 years of knowing my brother, I had only recently learned the name of his father.
01/17/2017 02:43 EST
I'm Sorry Joseph Boyden's Apology Was So

I'm Sorry Joseph Boyden's Apology Was So Impotent

When Boyden said in a recent interview that he should step back and let more deeply-rooted members of the community speak on its behalf -- and that he had become 'a bit too big' of a deal, my immediate reaction was a shrug. His apologies have felt a little flaccid, while criticisms have become strengthened and more expansive concerning ideas and identity.
01/16/2017 07:57 EST
Tell Joseph Boyden You Can't Sell 'Indian' Like A

Tell Joseph Boyden You Can't Sell 'Indian' Like A Souvenir

Joseph Boyden, author of The Orenda, is a figurehead in native literature and was recently scrutinized for his lack of proof concerning his native roots. The questions his identity raises are interesting and necessary, but if he's unwilling to have those conversations publicly, he's holding up progress.
01/05/2017 10:35 EST