“Tyler Pennock is a two-spirit adoptee from Lesser Slave Lake region of Alberta. Their biological family (Mailhot & Chalifoux) has grown roots in Grouard, McLennan, Prince George, Seabird Island, Faust and other communities throughout Western Canada. Their adoptive family (Sansome & Pennock) hails from Winnipeg, and Ottawa. Tyler is a member of Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation. They graduated from Guelph University’s Creative Writing MFA program in 2013, and currently live in Toronto.”
I believe, though – that names alone do not make my identity. I must live up to the relationships those names inspire. And I must always be willing to change in order to do that.
A short while ago, I had a long conversation about this with another (trusted and inspiring) Indigenous Author. I told them I don’t like affirmative naming, as I called it – because it’s “just another way race-shifters remove us from our spaces.”
I forgot though, that I can name things clearly as long as I honour and respect the relationships those names imply. It’s not enough just to have a name. You have to live it.
Who I am is nested deeply and warmly in the relationships I have – and have maintained throughout my life. When you peer into all the people, and land that I am close to, then you will know something about me.