My name is Dianna, I was born on December 11th, 1971 to an Agnes George from Big Island First Nation. I am the youngest of her twelve children. Before I turned a year old my mother died in a vehicle accident, soon after all twelve kids were put in care, the five youngest children were put up for adoption.
I went to a non- native family in Haileybury, Ontario. It wasn’t the best household to live in, yes there is some good memories but the bad ones are very overwhelming and out weigh the good. My adoptive parents should never have been parents especially the mother. The mental and sometimes physical abuse took its tole on me. Before I turned thirteen I had attempted suicide four times, my first suicide thought was at the age of eight. I had racism from school, either from teachers or fellow classmates and neighbor hood kids. I hated school back then, especially from gr. 1 to gr 8. History class was the worst especially when we talked about the “indians” in class.
From School and home life I didn’t like being native at all, the hatred and disgust i felt, I literally wanted to be white but that wasn’t possible. All the anger in me came to a boiling point and I tried to kill both of my parents just to get away from it all. I spent three months in a youth dentition center in Georgia U.S.A., then from there went to a place for troubled kids in Oakville, then to Sudbury (a hospital and then a group home). I ran away from the group home in Sudbury after being raped and soon traveled with a carnival for the summer ending up in Toronto living on the streets for a few months. I ended up getting arrested for selling weed to an undercover cop. He convinced me to go back home and I listened the physical abuse stopped but the mental was still there. I guess you can say I just grinned and bared it.
Soon I became a mom at 20 and I decided to apply for my status card. When I did that, I received info on my band, I called and talked to the secretary at the Big Island band office, and told her who I was and what I knew. “I was adopted, I am the youngest of twelve kids, my birth mom died in a car accident. Do you know any of my siblings”? within the hour I had three phone calls from siblings, by the end of the day I was talking to my birth dad. I did visit them and it was unbelievable. I finally felt this is where I belong. I met seven of my siblings and some my dads side of his family. I had a lot of questions and no answers, no one really shared anything about my mom, just how she died, that’s it. It was like this for very many years. I remember when my birth father died, I was called stupid by a few elders because I couldn’t speak or understand our language and at that point I felt I didn’t belong anywhere. It was kind of like feeling in limbo. I dislike this feeling, sometimes I still do.
I do have relationships with some siblings, we talk to each other and visit. I haven’t met all my nieces and nephews but have close relationships with some, I don’t know many of my cousins but I am starting to know my moms side, and I am hearing stories about her through a few of my aunties which makes me smile but I wish I had a picture of her though. I asked one of my aunties why they let me get adopted, her reply was we didn’t know you guys were, we knew you were in care. They were told that they would be informed what and when we can come back. None of us did and no one was informed.
I no longer have a relationship with the adoptive parents, they have cut me out of their life for the past 13 years after I took my youngest adoptive brother to court in regards to my first born. I guess they were hoping for it to be swept under the rug and I did what was right for my family. I have no regrets with that issue and there are some family members who still talk to me and I am thankful for that.
Yes I wish my mom never died, I wish I grew up with my siblings surrounded by family, that I know my culture and speak Ojibwe but this is not the case. That was taken from me, ripped away if you will. The ripples from that decision made by that “society” almost killed me in my younger years of life but I survived, I survived.
My name is Dianna Ferderber (George) – Giniw kwe. I have had a journey full of lessons and healing, now I am a proud Indigenous woman I have four beautiful strong Indigenous children and two beautiful grandchildren who put a smile on my face daily. I am learning my culture through the past twelve years and just started learning my language. I am a survivor and my history though at times is heartbreaking it is also a beautiful story.