Natacha Dupuis Shows the Strength of Indigenous Resilience
I joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1997 as a member of the Reserve Force and later enrolled in the Regular Force in 2002. I served until 2014 when I was medically discharged. I was injured during my last deployment to Afghanistan when an Improvised Explosive Device detonated. Soon thereafter I was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I kept reliving the incident in which two of brothers-in-arms perished.
While I was a supported member of the then Joint Personnel Support Unit, I was exposed to Soldier On. After participating in the Canada Army Run with other injured and ill members, I realized how beneficial it was to my recovery to keep up with physical exercise. I definitely credit the Soldier On program for getting me back into sport and training.
As a Métis person, I lived on an Indigenous reserve for a short period of my life. That experience allowed me to experience Indigenous reality through a different lens. It showed me how marginalized and excluded the Indigenous population is. However, I was also blown away how resilient they were despite the mistreatment throughout Canadian history. As Canadians, we need to be more inclusive and respectful of Indigenous traditions.
The International Day of Indigenous Peoples is a perfect occasion to demonstrate the resilience of Indigenous culture and show the world how beautiful of a culture it is. It is through that education that we can end the stigma surrounding Indigenous culture.