Shedding Light on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Q&A’s with Tayrn Hachey
Where are you from? What place do you currently call home and why?
I am from Metepenagiag (Red Bank) First Nation and I am Mi’kmaq. Which is a part of Miramichi, New Brunswick. I attend James M Hill high school. I am 18 and in Grade 12.
What community/communities are you part of ?
I am part of the Indigenous community and the LGBTQ+ community. I feel that since I am a part of these communities I am extremely open-minded. I have a positive perspective on life because I used to let negativity rule my everyday life and it nearly destroyed me. I refuse to go back to that.
What are you passionate about? What are your hobbies?
I am passionate about my culture as it is, in my opinion, the most beautiful thing in the world. My passion for my culture comes from being at pow wows at a very young age to now. It’s crazy though that how my people used to live we only truly see it in certain months out of the year and that makes me sad.
How did the idea for this project come to you?
When I heard about a class where I can learn what I want, I knew immediately I wanted to do something with my culture. I just didn’t know what exactly.
What was your motivation behind this project?
My motivation behind this project was to educate my peers and teachers on the truth about Indigenous cultures. I was tired of being forced to listen to ignorant and racist opinions about something I love dearly and something that is a part of me and my family. I attend a primarily white school so there was a need for education.
The only thing that kept me going through any problems was the fact that my people have been abused for centuries so I owe it to them to defend who we are as people.
How did your community react to your project? Have they been encouraged to get involved in any other ways?
Aside from a select few, when my peers heard about an Action campaign surrounding Indigenous Issues of Today, I don’t think they cared. They are 16–18, I didn’t expect much from them.
I find my best positive reaction, which wasn’t family, has been from my co-workers at Mike’s bar and grill. I would often come into work and they would ask me questions upon questions about my project and my culture and they always seemed so proud.
How has the project impacted you in your everyday life?
My project has become me as a person. It’s become a topic of discussion when I’m asked “So how is school”. It opens doors for me in the sense where I feel “more” mi’kmaq. I am part mi’kmaq and part white. But, I have skin as white as snow. Before my project, I was so sad that I knew little about my culture. My parents are separated and I live with my mother who is white. She is the most “I fight for my family and their culture” person you would ever meet. Her life’s mission has been to educate her friends and family about my culture the best she could, but she is white. So there is only so much she could do. Due to that, I had always felt like mi’kmaq was a part of me, but I wasn’t a part of Mi’kmaq. I would fight until the day I die for my culture and my people but I didn’t know much about it. This project has been my lesson plan to my people and I love it.
Were there some bumps along the road or things you may do differently in the future?
The bumps I faced was how to overcome my anger when I was given racist “opinions” that “didn’t seem” racist. I have fought for days on end with people about the beauty of my culture, and that’s something I will never regret. I never overcame my anger about this and I never will.
What would you say to a youth who is thinking about doing a #RisingYouth project?
I would tell them to choose something small that would have a huge impact. Less is more. It’s hard to manage a personal life and your project. When you make your project a big deal, the expectations are high and it’s scary. But, you don’t need to impress anyone. When people see good they expect good. The only person you need to impress is yourself. You let others’ opinions inflict what you do, you’re done.