Sunday, March 23, 2008

Biting my tongue until it bleeds blood red ochre


We were on a lovely Sunday drive with my MIL and FIL a long while back and we passed a town's library named after the region, which so happened to be on First Nations land. As my FIL mused out loud about the name, letting the many syllables dance about his palate, he wondered what kind of word "that" was. My MIL was quick to pipe up: "That's the pakis, you know. Lots of them around here". I know. It is as bad as it sounds. In her defense though, she was raised in a very isolated community and means no harm with her un-PC-ness, it's just that she has no freaking clue. Simply put, it's no excuse really, but it's that simple.

So I was reminded of that drive when she was telling me this story today-and I must add that she is off her meds while she is sick on the advice of her doctor (So is she more sane or less? You decide): The Arbutus trees that are so populous here? Well under the bark the tree is red apparently (not that I've cared to look or notice...but I nodded with interest anyways). The Indians used that, you know as their dye, for face paint...you know, their red "orca". Ummmm, we grew up studying the native Beothuk Indians. I'm pretty sure it was them that painted their skin red with "Ochre", not the whale. And uhhh, they were nowhere near any Arbutus trees.

My husband waited until last year (We've been together for 8) to reveal to me that his mother hates being corrected. In an effort to build bridges, I never said what was in my head today. She is sick, after all, and deserves a break from her domineering daughter-in-law's holier than thou correcting.

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