Since the late 90’s, I’ve visited Canada numerous times. Recently, April to mid July, I had the opportunity and honor to take part in presentations and interviews to promote my book. My interaction was mostly with First Nation folks. I visited several reserves; Onion Lake, Enoch, Kainai, and Maskwacis. The land is picturesque and alluring. My eyes were in shock in being stimulated by such natural colorful beauty that surrounds Alberta and B.C. My body had to adjust to the clean air. During one occasion, I stood behind a car to breath in the fumes to feel at home.
In some areas in the country, I saw how the majestic Alberta skies dominated my eyes. I actually felt like a spec of dust while gazing at the immense sky. The huge hovering clouds appear immoveable. It’s easy to go into the dense bush for five minutes and get lost if not attentive.
I was treated with overwhelming hospitality and kindness. It was nice to be somewhere in the world were my culture is respected. In the U.S., outside of my cultural circle, I don’t experience that accepting vibe. The media promotes so much negativity towards my culture. I am always prepared and have normalized the polarization and conflicting perspectives from people outside of my ethnic and social circles. Through numerous conversations with my First Nation brothers and sisters. I consciously realized this phenomena. I understand and embrace my Mexican/Chicano/Indigenous roots. I carry a healthy love of who I am. I don’t look for cultural validation but it is refreshing to receive it.
My last trip to Canada inspired me to continue my work with writing, presenting, and completing my documentary. I am still wake up during my morning prayers, missing my northern First Nation friends and their land.
Have a beautiful day everyone!
Luis R. Ruan