Thursday, September 17, 2015

Speak Your Peace: Merick Milward-Quinn

This piece was originally performed at Cha Island on March 26, 2015 for our local Speak Your Peace! event. It was amazing.

For fifteen years or more, I've felt invisible. I recall saying, at the age of seven, that I couldn't possibly accomplish anything because I was a young half-Native girl (being the opposite of my oppressors, the middle-aged-to-old white men of power, but luckily I had parents to usher those ideas out with the words of, "It's because of those things that you have the power to do anything."

And for a decade, half my life no less! I lived on the reserve, but there are people here who've known me for years without realizing where I'm from, so maybe I should stop my own erasure and declare my heritage proudly! (Or sadly once you realize just how decimated the culture truly is.)

Passing on partial pale-skinned privilege, have I shucked the identity I lamented at age seven, I created on to suit the system for my late success. I wore a mask of assimilation, I've been alienating myself from all forms of my natural community sor far, only to go on building my own network. One just as eccentric and queer and mashed together on stories of the heart as the person I've become, the person I share universally.

My ambiguity in life is omnipotent, from my gender and expression, to exploding out of nuclear heteronormative family roles or rules, redefining success to include my lifestyle and connections because otherwise you'd never hear about the joys we experience from the mass majority who'd rather see me as a statistic than a flesh and bleeding human.

And no one in school tells you what it's like to always be in survival mode, when several years pass and feeling safe is only based selectively for nothing will remain stable.
--Merick Milward-Quinn

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