Halfbreed by Maria Campbell explores the hardships faced by Maria and her family for being Metis. The book outlines Canadian multicultural community manner of thinking regarding ethnic identity. Maria’s family faced humiliation, institutional violence, and social oppression especially after the death of her mother. Earlier, Maria had internalized hatred and shame when she tells her parents that, “all of you no good Halfbreeds” (50) as the eldest sibling, Maria gives an account of the hardships she faced trying to provide for her siblings.
Maria had tried to keep the family intact, but due to their race, Maria’s family was disintegrated y the social services. Even her marrying a white did not save the family from disintegration. Besides, racism was responsible for Maria’s early marriage as well as the abusive relationship she had with her white husband.
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Maria is forced into prostitution, and drug abuse as the racial pressure was too much. Nevertheless, by the time Maria returns to her community, it was in a worse condition that she had left it. Apart from racism, Maria faces the challenge of sexism from the Aboriginal activists. Aboriginal activism was enabling the government to alienate aboriginal people instead of including them. The people living in her society were no longer there, and even the countryside had changed. Therefore, Maria decides to search within herself to create her own identity.
Ultimately, Maria acquires the right to self-identity as a Halfbreed. After her mother’s death, Maria hoped to keep her siblings together. To achieve her dreams, Maria became the sole provider to her siblings, grandmother and her father.
Eventually, Maria married Darrel in an attempt to ensure her family remains intact, but her husband betrayed her to the social services. The social services is a biased against half-breeds and separate the siblings against Maria’s wish. Maria and her family are subjected to significant alienation culminate in same and anger. Eventually, Maria internalizes self-hate as a result of the treatment meted on half-breeds. Other children shamelessly told Maria and other Halfbreeds, Gophers, gophers, Road Allowance people eat gophers (47).
Although Maria retaliated, continued teasing by the white children eventually caught up with her she vividly remembers racial discrimination in school where Halfbreeds were never allowed to play with white children unless it was competition. The school administration allowed racial segregation by minimizing interactions between the white and Halfbreed children. Maria self-hate reaches its peak where she returns from school and verbally attacks her parents or being Halfbreed. The verbal outburst was highly fueled by Alex’s children continued teasing. Besides, Maria ad noted that white children had better living standards a compared to Metis. Instead of trying to bridge that gap between Metis and the Whites, the community broadened it.
It took Granny’s intervention to restore Maria’s dignity in her ethnicity. The grandmother told Maria, I will beat you each time I hear you talk as you did.” The grandmother explained the Metis history and the whites role in self-hatred being experienced by the Metis. Just like Maia’s grandmother, Canadians have a role in ensuring equitable treatment of all races. From a young age, children should be taught to respect other children from other races and be more accommodative. Historical perspectives of ah race should be taught to offer the factual outline of different races as Maria gave Metis a name and a face through her biography.
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