Renee Linklater

As Interviewed by Eva Legge, March 19, 2013
"I was taken from my mother when I was four months old."
Renee Linklater

Introductory Profile: About Renee Linklater

Renee Lynn Broadbridge Legge Linklater is my aunt and interviewee. At the age of four months, she was taken away from her mother. Her name was changed and she was put into a foster care center for two months before being adopted into my father's family. She was never able to see her mother again. During school, she was teased. All of these terrible things happened to her just because she is native to Canada. Present day, Ren is the mother of a 22-year old and a toddler named dZwin, and lives in Toronto with her husband and dZwin. She has a Ph.D. and works with Native Canadian tribes that are going through hardships.

With long, silky dark brown hair flowing down her back, deep, welcoming brown eyes, and a pleasant smile, Ren is a beautiful woman. She is an Anishinaabe Indian on her mother's side and Scottish/English on her father's side. Ren is a calm, loving, and sincere person. Going through all of the hardships that she faced, she became a very strong and resilient person who is not afraid to take risks. She handled the interview with utmost sincerity and seriousness because of respect for my project and how much the stories she recalled meant to her.

At the age of 19, Ren learned that her birth mother had passed away. As a child, she had been completely isolated from her birth family, and only knew very general information about them. All her life up until that point, she had been waiting to see her mother. Her adopted family was very loving to her, but ever since she was taken away from her mother as a baby, she had attachment issues, fearing that if she got close to someone, they would leave her.

Along with learning that her mother had passed away, she learned about how horrifying her mother's childhood had been. At four years old, Ren's mother was taken to St. Margaret's Residential School. She was no longer able to live with her family even though they lived about 30 minutes away. At the school, all of her hair was chopped off. These evil people even bleached kids' skin to try to turn them into less “Indian”. She was taught a different religion and language; English, and was not even allowed to see her brother. Kids at residential schools were sexually and physically abused. Others tried to commit suicide, and thousands of children died from rampant disease, which spread easily in the cramped living conditions.

I greatly admire my aunt. Going through adoption, teasing, attachment issues, and her birth mother's death made her a strong person. Out of everything that I admire about her, the most impressive aspect was how successful she's become as an advocate for First Nations People, and how supportive she is of her family. Ren fought through all of the prejudges she experienced, and came out with a Ph.D--working very successfully in the field that she loves. She braved out her attachment issues and married a wonderful, kind man, and gave birth to my most adorable and sweet niece. She named her daughter dZwin, Ren's adopted mother's (my grandmother's) maiden name, showing how she had embraced the Ukrainian culture of her adopted family by choice in addition of her native culture.