The Calgary Journal
The Calgary Journal


When I was 12, my grandfather, who we called Pépère, gave me a forest green binder. To any average 12-year-old, this gift wouldn’t seem very exciting, perhaps more of a burden than a gift, but to me it was one of the most meaningful gestures that I still cherish.

Intergenerational trauma perpetuates a cycle of cultural disconnect and misunderstanding in Indigenous communities, seen by many as the root cause of challenges faced by Indigenous Peoples.

The wide eyes of panic, the slight tinge of betrayal in her shoulders; that’s what I remember.

I was sitting on a couch, leaning back into too-thin cushions: little back support. We were playing a tabletop game, our heads engrossed in one of my closest friend’s voice. I get up to get water when we take a break, the other’s voices jumbled words muffled by the kitchen’s tile.

I hear one friend say, “I liked that description of the witch, it was almost real.” I close the fridge door, walking slowly back towards them.

“Yeah, he did it perfectly.”

I realize my mistake immediately.

My aunt loves her Diet Cokes and always flatters me by calling me beautiful. Instantly, I tell her she is beautiful back. Sadly though, she is also a person who got unimaginably unlucky.

Due to wanting to protect her personal life, my aunt and her brother will remain anonymous.

My 62-year-old aunt suffers from schizophrenia and according to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, “As many as one person out of 100 may experience schizophrenia.”