Mǫ́lazha (Child of a Whiteman) weaves three central tales together to tell the story of Richard I. Hardy, commonly known as Rick, against the backdrop of his ancestors. This is a story of survival and resilience.
Rick’s European ancestors started coming to North America in the 1600s, settling in Nova Scotia as Acadians. Their progeny came to the Mackenzie River District of the NWT in 1851, creating new families and establishing ties to the fur trade. Rick shares stories of family and growing up Métis in the small town of Fort Norman, NWT, and how being Métis coloured his interactions with the Indian, Métis, and White people there.
When he was sent to residential school, he was the third generation to attend, following his grandfather and mother. Sexually, physically, and mentally abused over a two-year period, while at a Catholic residence, Rick was only 15 when he was a witness at the criminal proceedings after the perpetrator was caught. He suffered for many decades as a result of what happened to him, and firmly believes that the Catholic church not only knew what was happening to him and the other residents, but also did nothing to protect them.
By illuminating life in the North, what it means to be Métis, the role of nature and nurture in raising a child, and his lived experiences at residential schools, Rick aims to increase awareness of the trauma that occurred at residential schools and foster acceptance and understanding of the truth.