Monday, May 13, 2013

Aboriginal Pride: when fashion is about more than fashion

This walker is not mine, thank God, though I have had to use one in the past.
A few months ago, Beau got strep throat on a long weekend so we went down to the local drop-in clinic to get him a prescription for antibiotics. (Remember that this is Canada, so we all have free medical coverage). 

Since it was a long weekend, the place was packed with people not able to see their regular doctors. There was a long wait and there wasn't much to do but people watch.

I was really struck by these two girls, who were sharing an iPod, an ear bud for each. They seemed to have a real comfort level together, like maybe they were cousins or had grown up together.

What really touched me though was the fact that they were both wearing footwear inspired by traditional moccasins. Their outfits were very "of the moment" for teenaged girls in my part of town, and their sunglasses were cool too (and it's their sunglasses that obscure their faces enough for me to feel okay about posting this photo).

But their moccasin booties were cool in a much more meaningful way. It was, for both of them, a deliberate choice to wear and declare their Aboriginal cultural heritage. This means a lot in a culture that the dominant white culture systematically and quite deliberately tried to decimate. (If you doubt this, I can send you to several scholarly essays that will erase all doubt.)

This was the middle of the peak of the Idle No More movement and I felt like these two were doing their little part, just sitting there, being visible and proud. 

I just felt a swell of motherly affection for them that has not gone away.


  1. I like the boots and also the ideas behind it.

    1. Thanks. I sent this to friend and former student who is Aboriginal and she says it gets an "A+". Yay!

  2. Looks very similar to Native American moccasins and booties with a touch of Inuit thrown in for good measure.
    With all due respect to the culture I'm just not a fan. I look like a slob or a cliche if I attempt to wear anything NA. It may be because I'm so white I'm practically translucent LOL!

    Spashionista (Alicia)