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Mom proud to raise daughter in community that celebrates aboriginal life


Crystal Quinton is so glad her daughter can grow up in a community where one’s aboriginal descent can be celebrated openly.

On Saturday, the young mother from Stephenville attended the family day organized by the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band in advance of National Aboriginal Day, which is Tuesday.

Her five-year-old daughter, Clarity Star Quinton-Day, danced around to the beat of a men’s drumming group in her colourful aboriginal dress with not a care in the world.

“She doesn’t know the Mi’kmaq way wasn’t there for a lot of people,” said Quinton. “To her, it’s the only way. She tells everybody she talks to, ‘I’m Mi’qmak.’”

The Mi’kmaq way of life is not something that was an active part of Quinton’s own childhood.

“I always knew it was there, but I’ve really embraced it in the past three years,” she said. “It has really helped me find myself.”

Quinton said she always felt a little lost as a teen. She had Clarity Star while still in high school.

“I was going down a different path,” she said. “Not a bad one, but (discovering my heritage) helped me be me.”

Quinton loves the way aboriginal teachings respectfully connect people with the natural world around them and to family and community.

“It’s important to me because, for a lot of people, it was taken and beaten right out of them,” she said, referring to older generations who chose to hide their aboriginal ancestry out of a fear of persecution.

“We’re embracing it because there is so much love and it was taken from us for so long.”

She can see the cultural identity shining brightly in her daughter, not just through her jubilant dancing or proclaiming her ancestry to the world in words. She sometimes just smells the flowers and doesn’t pick them. She plays with bugs and doesn’t kill them because she knows they have an important role in nature too.

“She just has a brighter picture more than what most other five-year-olds have,” said Quinton. “She has a good sense of respect.”

As the men in the drum circle began to play her favorite song, “White Sky” — which is about clearing the air of all negativity, Quinton said she is proud to live in a community that has finally strongly embraced its deep aboriginal roots.

“I think it’s beautiful,” she said. “I think it’s been long overdue.”

To mark National Aboriginal Day itself, the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band has organized a sacred fire and cultural teaching event at 5 a.m. Tuesday morning, followed by a sunrise ceremony at 6 a.m. at Margaret Bowater Park. That will be followed by a breakfast at the Qalipu Community Room on Church Street at 7 a.m.

On Saturday, the young mother from Stephenville attended the family day organized by the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band in advance of National Aboriginal Day, which is Tuesday.

Her five-year-old daughter, Clarity Star Quinton-Day, danced around to the beat of a men’s drumming group in her colourful aboriginal dress with not a care in the world.

“She doesn’t know the Mi’kmaq way wasn’t there for a lot of people,” said Quinton. “To her, it’s the only way. She tells everybody she talks to, ‘I’m Mi’qmak.’”

The Mi’kmaq way of life is not something that was an active part of Quinton’s own childhood.

“I always knew it was there, but I’ve really embraced it in the past three years,” she said. “It has really helped me find myself.”

Quinton said she always felt a little lost as a teen. She had Clarity Star while still in high school.

“I was going down a different path,” she said. “Not a bad one, but (discovering my heritage) helped me be me.”

Quinton loves the way aboriginal teachings respectfully connect people with the natural world around them and to family and community.

“It’s important to me because, for a lot of people, it was taken and beaten right out of them,” she said, referring to older generations who chose to hide their aboriginal ancestry out of a fear of persecution.

“We’re embracing it because there is so much love and it was taken from us for so long.”

She can see the cultural identity shining brightly in her daughter, not just through her jubilant dancing or proclaiming her ancestry to the world in words. She sometimes just smells the flowers and doesn’t pick them. She plays with bugs and doesn’t kill them because she knows they have an important role in nature too.

“She just has a brighter picture more than what most other five-year-olds have,” said Quinton. “She has a good sense of respect.”

As the men in the drum circle began to play her favorite song, “White Sky” — which is about clearing the air of all negativity, Quinton said she is proud to live in a community that has finally strongly embraced its deep aboriginal roots.

“I think it’s beautiful,” she said. “I think it’s been long overdue.”

To mark National Aboriginal Day itself, the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation Band has organized a sacred fire and cultural teaching event at 5 a.m. Tuesday morning, followed by a sunrise ceremony at 6 a.m. at Margaret Bowater Park. That will be followed by a breakfast at the Qalipu Community Room on Church Street at 7 a.m.

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