My name is Simeonee and I’m from Kuujjuaraapik in Nunavik. In the 40’s and 50’s it was called Great Whale River and the nearest Cree community is Whapmagoostui. Inuktitut is my first language and it’s really important for me, it’s my identity. I can also speak English.
I grow up with my family in a tent until I was 12. Then we moved in a matchbox house which was not good and at 16, I moved in a three-room duplex. I went to a federal day school in my community and did up to grade 9 because we had to go to another community to get the grade 10, 11 and 12. We didn’t learn French, it was all in English. What I loved the most up North was the large territory, we were living by our own. I like the people up there, the people I love, and the landscape. I miss that.
I came to Montreal 5 years ago because I was evicted of my community. I owed too much money to the authority, the establishment of the municipality. I didn’t have a home and all my relative’s houses were overcrowded. They had to sleep on the floor in their own home and it’s still like this today. It’s why I couldn’t stay in my community. I even went to jail and ask if I can stay for the night because I had nowhere to go, and they let me in. One time, I was escorting a man that had to come in Montreal to go to the hospital and I decided to stay.
I was in Montreal for 3 weeks when I heard that there were homeless center and that’s how I get to know PAQ. I liked it because they give a roof over your head and a bed to sleep. It was also hard sometimes. We had to get up at 7 o’clock every morning, I didn’t have enough sleep and cannot relax. I was also eating and living poorly because I was drinking a lot. Most of the time, I slept outside because the intervention workers cannot let me go in because I was drunk. So, it was pretty rough time.
Now I’m a t the MAP house and the thing I like at this place is that I can sleep all day. I can rest and this freedom makes me relax. I was really tense before I came here and that tense in my body just slowly evaporated, slowly going off, and my mind is getting stronger. I was not aware that I was so tired until I came at the MAP.
In this new community, I try to help people as much as I can and I try to let them see the whole picture of our life, in truth. When I give advice to other people, I know how they feel. It’s why, in the future, I would like to help people, people who are poor and discriminated. I like thinking about helping homeless people. I also love the North, the people there, and I will always defend it, even though they evicted me, I want to do good things for them.
For the Indigenous community, I would like to see some good and low rent apartment where they can live happy. I would like to see some king of coop apartment. That would be very good because it would help to stand up and not to always depend on PAQ.
I would also like to see more change and real solutions manifested by the government because we are still not equal to the rest of the population of Canada. What the confederation fathers and Macdonald did was very wrong. They were racist people and today, we still feel what they did and I would like to see something turn about it. The government apologized, but it’s not enough. The reconciliation will take a long time because our people is still considered like second class citizens. When people see an Indigenous person, they think we are pre-historic because our system of living do not depend on money. Money is not our boss, we depend on true life, on animals and nature. Society has a lot of problem and sadly, we don’t see many Indigenous doctors or scientist, we are still being discriminated. The whole system has to change.