All my life I’ve been told I’m not Native enough. Being the first generation of “half-breeds” from my reserve meant that my fair(ish) skin stood out from the crowd. When I moved to the suburbs and went back to the reserve to visit my relatives, I was ridiculed for being a city kid, and for my love of designer clothes (I was an odd ten-year-old). Even now, I am often told by non-Native people that I’m not quite Native enough since I don’t cover the subjects that they expect from a Native person and equally I am told by Native people that I’m not quite Native enough since I don’t cover the subjects that they expect from a Native blogger. The confusion never ends.
The play Salt Baby, by Falen Johnson, covers this exact subject and is a part of the Next Stage Festival happening now in Toronto.
“Really? You don’t look it.” Growing up on Six Nations, Salt Baby never quite fit in, a “white” looking “Indian.” Fair skin and curly hair makes her more of a Shirley Temple type than a Pocahontas type. Salt Baby navigates the Rez and the city while explaining herself, as well as her blood quantum, to the world and to Alligator. “It’s always different for Indians.”
This comedic play is directed by Yvette Nolan and features Mike Bernier, James Cade, Derek Garza, and Paula-Jean Prudat. It is running from January 3-13th at the Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst Street).
Sometimes you need some comic relief when dealing with subjects like identity and race, and right now is definitely one of those times for me. I am greatly looking forward to checking out the show!