“Here, young people kill themselves as we breathe elsewhere”
“I don’t know how to live anymore, Grandfather,” says Wacte, a young Atikamek whose name means “light”. He speaks to his elder in his mother tongue. “I would like to do something for the community, but I don’t know what to build or where. It's too small here, but here I'm everyone's son. Elsewhere, it's too big and I'm nobody’s son... I speak a language that I love but no one understands it. Here, young people my age kill themselves as we breathe elsewhere...
And when they are elsewhere, they don’t know how to live... I don’t know how to live like I used to, Grandfather. But I don’t know how else to live either. I don’t know how to be Indian today, Grandfather, in a world that does not think like me, that does not want me, that does not have the same values as me… I want to live, Grandfather, but I don’t know how... I'm lost, Grandfather.”
To which the grandfather replies: “The past creates roots for trees, humans and peoples. We can’t live without it. The tree that denies its roots denies what nourishes it and what makes it strong. We must preserve the forces of the Indian. But we must also acquire the strengths of the white man and thus have the power of two men. For me, it is too late, Wacte, but for you and your generation, everything is just beginning. The white world needs you. Listen to your heart. The heart is like time: it has never deceived anyone.”
Excerpt from the script of La fin du mépris (The end of contempt).
Back to the article