Gina

When I look at Gina’s face, I see a strong, caring woman, who has done her best to survive in a strange world. I see years of pain, yet a personal strength to still look for hope.

I met Gina in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada. In my two days there my heart was broken for the aboriginal people. My hotel was on the block known as the worst block in the city. It’s called that because our aboriginal homeless friends hang out at all hours of the day and night. I would look out of my window, or when I walked down the street myself, and see white people, middle class white people – my people – my culture, just walk by as if the aboriginal culture didn’t even exist. Aboriginal people in Yellowknife, and I am sure in other communities, are truly an invisible people.

Gina reminds me of my grandmother. My grandmother came from Eastern Europe and never really adapted to Western culture. She was a wonderful woman who was always honest, and would tell it like it is. Gina is gorgeous, and she is being honest about how her people are good people, and ignored by many of us.

Gina is a religious person, and everyday in her morning prayers, she cries that her people will find a home. I know my heart now cries out in agreement with her.

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  • Tiarella

    I am from Yellowknife and have to comment because I have a lot of concern about poverty in the NWT and a lot of respect for Aboriginal culture.  It does not seem right that you have leapt to the conclusion that because the average person in Yellowknife avoids street people that they are not aware or respectful of Aboriginal culture.  Aboriginal culture has nothing to do with living on the street in a big city, swearing, fighting, and intoxicating their bodies with drugs and alcohol.  I am not Aboriginal but if I were I would certainly be offended that you would call this part of my culture.  And as a non-Aboriginal person I wish I could have met you to show you some real Aboriginal culture like the art work that fills all of our shops in Old Town, or the drums dances and handgames at one of the cultural centres.  Yellowknife was established by foreign miners and is now inhabited by a variety of ethnic groups.  There is poverty everywhere and also million dollar mansions; the income gap is sad but Yellowknife is also one of the most generous communities in Canada.  So just because people who have to walk our rough and violent downtown streets every day seem to ignore a lot of the troubled people does not mean that they don’t respect Aboriginal culture or have compassion for homeless people. Thank you.

  • http://hardlynormal.com hardlynormal

    Thanks so much for your comment, and forgive me if I was misunderstood. Writing is not my forte and it’s hard to put what I see and felt into words. Please know I met some wonderful people in Yellowknife, white folks, giving their lives to help all homeless people in the NWT. Lydia may be the most amazing woman I’ve ever met in my life http://hardlynormal.com/blog/2011/07/26/prisons-residential-schools-homelessness-we-must-never-give-up-on-people/

    To help clarify my hotel was right on the “street” that has the worst problems. Because night does not fall I could see clearly out my window at all hours. I have traveled to many communities, but I have never seen what I saw in Yellowknife. I am not saying that everyone there is like this. and again, I met wonderful people of all cultures there. If you hear me speak I say I left my heart in Yellowknife, because I did. I fell in love with your community and your people, and I hope to return someday.

    Thanks again for your comment and clarification. You are correct and I am grateful for your feedback

    Thank you

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