April 22 – motherland

272/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me.  Today’s gratitude post is not about a person.  Today is about a bunch of people – a culture, traditions, a way of life and being – my motherland.  This morning and afternoon, I attended a Professional Development workshop about First Peoples’ (First Nations/Aboriginals/Indian) past and present so we as educators could better understand what they had to endure in residential schools/land rights in the history of Canada to where they are today and what is happening to their people.  Being an ethnic person, I had a different take-away experience as I started thinking about my “people”.  I don’t recall if I have admitted this but I coined my own moniker when I was writing my blog for the Vancouver Province newspaper – The Whitest Brown Guy.  I know very little about my heritage and culture.  The school that I teach at is about a 1/3 Indo-Canadian and the boys especially (in my classes) give me grief about being “too white”.  It’s friendly banter but today got me to thinking about my ethnicity and heritage and I have to admit that I am very proud that I have such a great heritage.  Even though I was born in Canada, my ancestors come from a land full of people with diverse cultures and traditions – my specific one being from the northern state of the Punjab.  I wasn’t very proud of being ethnic growing up because I was different – I was marked and it was easy fuel for the bullies.  Did I want to deny my ethnicity?  Hell yes – anything to get away from the turmoil of the teen years.  But here I am today proud of my heritage and where I came from.  I no longer deny who I am and who my people are.  I am only one aspect of a very diverse culture and that diverse culture is only one aspect of who I am but it has shaped me and for that, I am thankful for all that my motherland is and represents.  I am Ethnic.  I am Minority.  I am Indian.  I am Punjabi.  I am Indo-Canadian.  I am Me.  I am proud of my heritage!

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