I would not write about this in a public blog except that I have blogged about it more than once in times past and now, with egg ALL over my face, I have to clear up an issue that has just smacked me upside the head this week.
A big lie that was told to me by my father and that shaped so much of my thinking about my own identity has now been exposed. I am such a fool to have believed it, BUT then I have to remember I was only 10 years old when it was first told to me and then when he confirmed the tale again I was only about 16 or 17 years old. A lot of time has passed since then.
I am not angry at dad, just so you know, but I am embarrassed that once again I was sucked into the vortex of his perpetual lying and in my adult years didn't have the sense to realize it. I am only "outing" him because of all the things I have said about this in previous blog posts.
So, here is the truth: there is not one drop of First Nations blood in our family. The great-grandmother who was supposed to be half Cherokee was a white woman from southern Ontario. I fell for the lie that records about our heritage had been destroyed due to embarrassment by previous generations over that First Nations connection because I actually had relatives in high places who would have had the opportunity and the motivation to do just that. Of all the details of the lie dad so painstakingly created, that is actually the most believable part of it. (Actually scratch that word, "painstaking". The lies flow out of him with so little aforethought he should have spent his life as an author of fiction instead of an educator.)
I found out about this lie only a few weeks ago when I said something to Dad about our heritage and his response was, "What are you talking about?" I told him what I was talking about and there was a long silence. Then dad burst into laughter and said, "WHAT??? You believed that stuff I told you when you were a kid????? hahahahahahahaha....." Welcome to my childhood....
This time I was the one instigating the long silence. Finally I just let out a sigh and said, "Yeah Dad, I did." He laughed some more at my gullibility and I said good-bye and hung up.
The reason I am not angry is because it isn't worth it. The embarrassment comes from having told the story to so many other people who have asked about my heritage. The way First Nations people have been drawn to me since I moved to this province, my body build etc. seemed to confirm it. But, it is not the truth.
You may ask, how do I know that my dad denying it is not the real lie? I know because my cousin just received back her DNA ancestral testing results. We are second cousins on the side of the family that is supposed to include the native great-grandmother. Her dad and my grandmother were brother and sister. Her DNA results came back as 47% Irish!! The other 53% was the expected smattering of Scottish and English ancestry. Not a drop of Aboriginal DNA anywhere to be found.
So, that is that.
Well, it was fun while it lasted........
Dad has been and always will be who he is. No one can change that. At least now you know why I spent so many sessions in counselling trying to figure myself out as an adult! I am just glad I found out the truth before he dies or the lie would be perpetuated and it would be my son being humiliated in future years. I am glad Dad was honest at last and admitted to having conned me. Now I can move on in the truth. I forgive dad. Lying is a bad habit he got into somewhere in his life and we all have things we say and do in life that are wrong and that we spend our lives struggling to correct. He is not alone in that.