family, multi-parent family, support, autism, Mother’s Day, Two-Spirit, First Nations School, Indigenous culture, pre-colonization, residential school, 60’s scoop, Indigenous family
Jess: Well I’m still fairly new to, well I guess fairly new to the family. Um I’ve been living with the whole gang for just over a year now. So I’ve been involved with school stuff, I’m on the list for parent guardians. So, um, I felt, I’ve been -our family has been received really well. Especially at Fred’s, Fred’s school, um, I think they realize, um, because of maybe his autism, that three parents are sometimes better than two.
Evan: Yah, I mean his school’s been really good. Like we both got mother’s day cards from the school. They’ve been really accepting. I think First Nations School we’ve never had a problem, um I think it’s because two-spirit people are held up so highly in school and there’s lots of two-spirit people who work at school and I think, I mean as Indigenous people we have such a different way of understanding what family is , and have always, I think all of our cultures have always had extended family raising children, so it’s not weird to have sort of larger, mixed or blended families.
Evan: Yah, I think, I mean, in Indigenous communities, I mean, pre-contact, there was always, the responsibility was shared, because you know I mean people would go hunting and so other people would look after your kids while you were hunting or doing those things that, you know if you were out on the trap lines you could be out there for months and you know some kids would go with you and some kids would stay back, and there was just always this sort of sense of community responsibility for caring for the children. I think even now, sort of post-residential school and post-sixties scoop, uh, there’s this huge move in our communities to really keep our kids in our communities and raised in the culture, and so I think that we’re sort of doing what always was done, which is that if parents were unable to take care of kids , it was someone else in your immediate family or even in the community, or if worse came to worse in a neighbouring community that took in the kids, and that was sort of the norm, and I mean we have all these family responsibilities like in Indigenous communities if you’re an aunty or and uncle, that’s a caregiver role, you have a responsibility, you’re a role model, it’s not so much I think what happens in sort of Western families, where you know, you see your aunt at Christmas, and once in a while, there’s a big responsibility with being called an aunty or an uncle.