Opinion: Be the change you want to see in the world
- Alyson Bear | September 10, 2019
When I look at my daughters, I see the future and there is nothing more sacred than that. The future of our innocent children is dependent on our actions today. The world they have to grow up in is not ideal and there is a lot of injustice that needs to be dealt with. I believe deeply in being the change you want to see in the world.
Your life can change in matter of years. I went from being a lost and drunk adolescent to a sober mother pursuing her law degree. The amount of growth that has happened in the past few years is incredible. The amount of work and hours put into balancing all of this alone is far from easy. It is justice I am looking for.
It is also about finding your people. The people who have your back, who care about you, this world and what they role model to their children and the young ones around them who look up to them. So much abusive behavior and treatment has been normalized and passed down that we accept it. I have come to a place in my life where I cannot accept disrespect anymore. I have walked away from people who have bad vibes and put me or other people down.
It took some time to get used to being sober and saying no to things and people that are not good for me. As time passes and I am now six years sober, that anxiousness from change and shifting into a new and improved version of myself has faded. I am able to embrace myself and my mistakes I made in the past and allow it to make me better into a person who is always learning, healing and growing. Once you get used to change and meeting people who appreciate you for you, it makes it easier to find and share your gifts with the world and give back.
This giving back is healing within itself and I think for me is a way of seeking justice. Finding justice and peace within myself first and then using that strength to find the answers I need to find outside of me. The thing about today is we have the privilege to access information at our fingertips. We can research, study, learn and therefore grow. While learning the facts we also need to keep in mind the solutions. It is one thing to address harms done to us and our peoples and it is another to find solutions from those problems.
I do not have it all figured out. I am still a student. I have been fortunate to cross paths with many people I look up to. This path I feel is that is searching for justice in a world built on genocide. Nothing happens overnight. This work has taken generations and the torch continues to be passed down. The warriors of the past and their work continues to be alive through us. The Indigenous activists and scholars who came before us and started creating waves of change and opening up new doors for us to go through has created space for us today. Indigenous peoples are underrepresented in professional institutions and these are spaces we also need to take back to continue changing the narrative just by our presence and showing up.
Divide and conquer was the agenda by displacing our people onto tiny plots of land (reserves) where we could not leave without a pass and therefore could not gather and discuss matters.
We need each other and we are more powerful together. I attended the Assembly of First Nations this past week in Fredericton and I know AFN takes a lot of criticism, but I would never lump every chief and leader into the same category. I also see many leaders working hard for their Nations and creating positive change. The positive outcomes need to also be highlighted.
The media and social media are good at focusing on the negative and creating its own narrative. There is only so much we can do and so much time we have here. Nothing is perfect, no one is perfect and yes, we have all been colonized and now we are waking from that colonial slumber but instead of being pitted against each other, let’s come together.
We need our people represented in all professions, we need doctors and lawyers who will support our people. We need artists, actors and film producers to share our stories from our perspectives. We need activists and trade workers so we can rebuild our Nations and traditional governance systems.