This is our life. No dress rehearsal.

Sarah: Let’s tear up the Indian Act!

From St. Johns, NL to Bella Bella, BC, Sarah Norris has definitely lived on the east/west extremes of our country.

My Canada Project

Duleepa Wijayawardhana

April 17, 2017

From St. Johns to Bella Bella, Sarah has definitely lived on the east/west extremes of our country and experienced first-hand two extremely vibrant and different cultures. I look forward to the day I can get in a kayak and paddle with Sarah and Ted on either end of the country.

Q. Tell me bit about yourself and your life in Canada?

Hello I’m Sarah Norris. I have lived in Canada all my life. I was born in Duncan, on Vancouver Island, and live in the same house until I went to university. Which has given me a great sense of stability. I have also lived in Halifax and St. John’s (where I met Dups). I have traveled the country by train, which I recommended to everyone. Unlike many others from this project I have not traveled internationally, only USA and St. Pierre. I now live in a small village on BC’s central coast, Bella Bella, a First Nations reserve. Here I try to travel the territory to see the amazing beauty of the coast. Here I have been a Nanny, a TA, an ECE (daycare worker), post office worker most recently, and most importantly a Mom, now to two sons.

Q. When you think about being Canadian what does it mean for you?

When I think about being Canadian if I’m being flippant I would say polite. However, I also think of it as an amazing privilege to be born or live in a country that for the most part is safe and you can trust the government to help you when you need it. I have just started reading the Guardian weekly and have had my eyes opened wider about the instability of so many other countries. Being Canadian also means diversity, in all its forms. Lots of different people living next to and with each other. I live in a village where I am the minority and this has taught me to understand others and their culture, to go beyond tolerance into understanding and welcoming of both sides.

Q. What makes you happy about Canada? Where do you feel the happiest in Canada?

What makes in happy about Canada???? So many things, government stability, and knowledge you can get health care, safety for me, my family and most others. A country striving to do better.

Where do I feel happiest? I think when I’m with my family or friends. Most unfortunately Canada is HUGE and lots of my friends live across it. Also I would say walking in the forest of BC. I don’t know anywhere else in the world that can grow moss like the west coast of BC. It is very peaceful.

Q. What frustrates you about Canada?

Ahhhh there is a lot that does frustrate me about our country. First I would say the Indian Act, and how we see, treat, think, and legally perceive First Nations people. I think that we, as a country, have done and continue to do so much wrong. To have places in our beloved country that cannot get clean water or safe housing; to have an Parliament Act legally treat you as second or even third class citizens. I want to be able to rip up the Indian Act and start fresh.

I think that is one of the main points, others being: too much dependence on oil and gas, health care not being totally free, and needing to care for the land around us. Also we need to let everyone in the country work and sell their wares anywhere in the country, not bicker about where it’s from. I think it is madness that a teacher or RMT or ECE or many other workers have to prove their worth if they move to another province. Get over it. It’s Canada I think we can all agree that each province has a similar education system and is pretty much equivalent to each other’s.

Q. Where would you like Canada to be in 25 years when we celebrate 175?

In 25 years let’s hope that we have torn up the Indian Act and are treating everyone in this country fairly. We are not dependent on oil and gas and maybe no longer using them and just perhaps: leading the world in renewable energy and environmentally protection.

Q. If you have one piece of advice to give someone being born in Canada today, what would it be?

Ahh that would be my sons I guess. Well my advice would be to get involved. Put your energy in to a cause that means something to you. Be passionate but always listen to other points of view. Travel the country if you can, and travel the world if you can, if not READ! Read about others and the viewpoints. Work towards making Canada and the community around you a better place.

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