“Mixed Blood Girls” is the next single from our April 16 release, Singles EP. It’s (some of) my story as a mixed Secwépemc girl from the East Kootenays. My dark skin and white features left me open to compliments on my “beautiful tan,” and when they found out it wasn’t, I was “too pretty to be an Indian.” From ballet moms to dudes in bars, I’ve heard it all.
But it isn’t all skin deep. Being mixed isn’t just about appearances and everyone’s entitled opinion about them. My story follows where I came from and where I currently stand, distanced from family and culture and often pretty isolated because of it.
I was inspired to write “Mixed Blood Girls” after attending my friend Smokii Sumac’s book launch. A poet before them, Rain Prud’homme, read their poem, Mixedblood Girls, relating their experience as mixed Creole-Indigenous. I loved it. I wanted to be that brave and say my words, but it wasn’t an easy thing to do. I had to dig deeper than my own story.
The trauma suffered by my grandmother at residential school would influence the rest of—and in many cases, the end of— my immediate Indigenous family. Not every residential school survivor was resilient. The only family reunions I can remember were funerals. What a fucked up feeling.
We haven’t written a song with explicit language in years. We don’t usually need to or want to. But these are the best words for what I feel when I hear shit like “too pretty to be an Indian,” or when someone compares their tan to my skin, or when I think about what my grandmother went through in residential school, how it affected her children, and their children, but by keeping me separated from all of them my dad created a subjectively healthier life for me, and that because of that I don’t really know my Indigenous family. And these are the best words for when I think about how most of them are gone now, and I can’t find who’s left. Aunties, Uncles, all dead. Can’t find my cousins anywhere… What a fucked up feeling.
In my search for community, I think I wrote an anthem. Our full force behind M-M-M-M-“Mixed Blood Girls,” I call them hard from the start – anyone who’s been living in between or felt left behind. Anyone who can’t catch up to their culture. Women and girls fetishized for being dark, exotic, interesting (NDN, you weren’t expecting.) For those girls who are brown in the sun, and brown in the shade.