One thing that many Cree and Inuit have in common is an ancestry that comes from across the ocean. Some have French, some have Scottish or English, but most who do have some European ancestry are not even aware of it.
I like to keep in touch with the other half of my gene pool on occasion and go back as far as I can go in history. I can go back to the East India Company (on my father’s side), the Revillon Freres trading company (on my mother’s side) and to my great grandfather (who was named Nero and was Inuk), so I can count back four generations. I’m not sure if we have any North African blood, but I highly doubt that, given that the family name of Herodier comes from the Herodians, who, some claim, go back to Mary Magdalene’s exodus from the Holy Land a few millennia ago.
Given such a diverse family background for many Cree, it can be said that there are many other (other than Cree) families who have been assimilated into the Cree milieu. Some just a few decades ago, some back a century, but all have something in common: they all lived off the land for survival and came from somewhere else.
I understand people when they point out my features and associate me with mixed blood. I’ve heard it all before, and somehow, my skin thickened and racism became fodder for my jokes and my puns targeted those who have only one blood in them.
Today, given all diversifications, there are Cree out there with North African blood, South American blood, Jewish blood, Mexican blood, American blood, French and English blood, and the blood of all bloods, bloody Scottish blood. So I am not alone in the Cree world and neither is the gene pool when it comes to mixed bloods.
So how do I account for all this mixture? Well, it tells me that I cannot afford to be racist, or I would be racist against myself, and who’s crazy enough to do that?
It has been said that 70 per cent of all people from Quebec have some native blood in them, so what’s with the obsession with distinctions and keeping blood pure — the talk that often spurs talk of separation. Why bother?
One day soon all people will have similar features because interracial relationships are becoming more and more common. Heck, one cousin of mine married an Asian (which leaves only the Aborigines of Australia left to tackle and perhaps a Sami or two), much to the chagrin of his family, but hey, love knows no boundaries.
Still, the world has a lot to learn from the Cree, such as tolerance for other religions and peoples. Today, religion-wise, there are four or five Christian denominations, a few new-agers, perhaps some hidden Satanists, a new resurgence of our own beliefs, and at the same time, four different languages are spoken, enabling us to fit comfortably in any environment. All this among 15,000 people and within 30 years’ time.