My 6-year-old child returned one day from school and informed me that she wasn’t Métis and that she was Christian. When I questioned where this statement was coming from, she explained that her teacher asked the students about their cultural and religious background. She explained that when she told the teacher that she was Métis and didn’t have a religion, the teacher told her she was wrong. The teacher explained to my child that she was white and christian.
Unlike me, my child has blond hair and blue eyes with freckles. Métis means mixed raced. My child, like her parents, is Native American, French and Irish. She took on the features from our Irish ancestors. That doesn’t mean that she is white and christian. Pale skin, blue eyes, are not exclusive to white people. Just because someone doesn’t look “native enough” to you doesn’t mean that they are white, it’s just that you assume that white is the default.
I called the school and requested a meeting with the teacher. The instant she saw me enter the class, she knew she had made a mistake. I look full blood Native.
This is a reminder not to judge people on their looks or assume that you know more about their culture and religion than they do.