So my name is Daisy and I was born in New Zealand, and Aotearoa. If I said that right, and I am half Samoan, my dad is a Polish Canadian. And for me to live in on this land, and in this territory, it has been confusing. It has been a time of discovery. The confusing part for me growing up here is understanding what trying to understand what Canada is, as from my mom's culture, it was very clear what Samoa is. There is a Samoan language. There are Samoan people. There's a certain look to these people. They're very connected to their land, they have a very distinct culture. Being born in New Zealand, I understood that going back I understood that I'm not of this land. I am born there. But there are different there's a different culture of the original people of that land. They are the Maori people. They have their own culture, their own language, their own identity, different from what my mom's Samoan culture is. But being in Canada, I was never understood growing up. So, I grew up from the time I was like a year and a half. I came here as a very young child. I never understood or was taught who the original people are of this land. I was never taught their language, a greeting. I was never taught the food they like or enjoy. I was never taught what they look like the differences between different places within Canada. I felt very disconnected and very confused as to who were the original people of this land. And so, as a Masters student at Wilfrid Laurier University, I wanted to investigate this more.
I was a music student at the Masters level, and I had the opportunity to research what was the music of this land when the Mennonites came to settle this area in so-called Waterloo. I know the Maori people, they have specific, they have the haka that they do when newcomers come to the land. This is widely known throughout New Zealand, widely known throughout the world even everyone knows the name haka. In Samoa. There's a lot of traditional music, and that is widely known throughout Samoa and throughout Polynesian cultures even. But I did not know the Indigenous music or greetings that are part of this land and that may have been introduced to the settlers of Waterloo at the time of settlement. So, I started to research and even understand what the music was of the Mennonites at that time. It was so easy to find information about the Mennonite settlers and their music, their culture, the library is full of information. I was recommended to talk to so many different people that knew about even here at Waterloo Park knew about Saengerfest ,this huge music festival that would be hosted here at the City of Waterloo, where 1000s of people would come throughout, not just Canada, even the states travel here, they would set up their buggies and, and sleep here in the park and have this massive festival. But not one person that I talked to, I could not find within the masses of libraries and Wilfrid Laurier, and University of Waterloo, anything about the Indigenous music and culture and that upset me and I left school. That's why I left school because that didn't feel right.
Then in speaking with Indigenous people about their own music, there was such a disconnect. And the history of this land, the true history unraveled before me, and I couldn't take that because I understood better. Why I had no idea about the culture, the culture of the land that I lived and grew up in, I understood better, because I understood what it meant, what residential schools were, and what their purpose were, and how the government had a specific goal to rid indigenous people of color culture, their music, their livelihood, their identity. And I had a hard time processing that. And I had to leave, I had to leave my schooling, and I'm still trying to find how to move forward from that. And the more I get to know the culture, the better connected I feel, to this land, and who the original peoples are, but who I am and how I fit with the indigenous people and culture. I identify a lot with Indigenous people, Indigenous culture, we have similarities because of the Samoan Indigenous culture. And but there's so much more that I need to understand there's so much more I need to learn. And I'm still waiting and hoping to hear more music.
I love the music that is presented as I start have started to go to powwows. But I feel like there's more that we need to uncover. And that's Canada's people, Canadian people, and settlers. And as a country we need to embrace we need to hear it more; we need to feel more needs to be part of our language. We shouldn't be able to say haka so easily and have a full understanding of what that is, and not be able to understand and say something as simple as Miigwetch and not be able to say the greetings which I don't even know the local greeting yet. But I am determined to learn and to grow and understand and become a better version of myself through these discoveries, and it is my hope that all so called Canadians take that opportunity to understand their self-better as they discover who the original caretakers are of this land. Deep down they know or being guided, are being guided to know and will find answers and it's up to us to listen better. Thank you.