Some of my ancestors were Indigenous, but I am not Indigenous.
That is the utterly mundane conclusion I have reached, after reflecting for some time on the history and heritage of my ancestors.
I may be a product of their genetic material, their choices, and their histories, but my identity is not their identity, and my community is not their community.
I am that I am because of the life I have lived and the communities I have been a part of, and I have never been a part of a Irish or an Indigenous community.
So what am I?
I am Canadian, I suppose. I was born in Canada. I am recognized by the state as Canadian, and other Canadians recognize me as Canadian. I have benefited tremendously from my membership in this community, and I have contributed to it as well.
True, I have no particular attachment to the Canadian community, broadly construed, or to what is sometimes said to be our Canadian identity, but my personal feelings are irrelevant.
Membership in a community isn’t determined by the feelings one has for it. It is determined by the relationships one forms and maintains. I may not feel any particular affinity for my community, but it does not change the fact that I am a part of it.
Until I am rejected by Canadians or accepted by some other community, I am Canadian, a settler, and all that it entails — for better and for worse.