Coming home to Aklavik
Aboriginal man searches for mother

Daniel MacIsaac
Northern News Services

Aklavik ( May 19/00) - Kevin Floyd is looking for his mother, and the trail leads north and west to Aklavik.

A 28-year-old resident of Vancouver, Floyd has never known his birth mother. In fact, he knew little about her or his own roots until just over two years ago when freedom of information laws changed to allow him access to certain facts.

He now knows that his mother was born in Aklavik in 1953 or 1954. At the age of 18, she travelled south to Victoria, B.C., where she gave birth to him in October 1971. At that point, their paths separated.

Kevin was named Martin at birth, but his name was changed when he was adopted by his parents -- a mother of Danish origin and a father with an Anglo-Welsh background.

He said from a very young age he thought about his own roots, adding that he had a very comfortable upbringing in a family that included two step-sisters and a step-brother, who was also adopted.

"But, I being the darkest of them all, I always wondered how I fit in," said Floyd in a recent telephone interview.

"People were always asking me what my background was, and it made me want to find out, too."

Floyd said all he knew about his birth mother was what a nurse at a Victoria adoption agency told his parents when they adopted him.

"The nurse mentioned that my mother was the most attractive young woman she'd seen and thought she was of 'Eskimo' background," he said.

"That's as much as I knew for as long as I can remember."

Floyd said he received further motivation to trace his mother during a trip to the Middle East when he was 16.

"I travelled there with my parents, and it just opened my eyes. There were so many people with all kinds of interesting backgrounds, and it made me more interested in mine."

Floyd, who is tree-planting in the B.C. interior and sometimes works for Rogers AT&T out of his home, said he's thinking of going into nursing. At one time, he said he was also considering making a living from climbing mountains -- a pursuit he said has also made him consider who he really is.

"I've always known I'm a Canadian from the West Coast, but it would be nice to know more," he said.

"I have a lot of passion for mountaineering and for the winter, so I have my friends hypothesizing, 'Well, it's in your blood and it stands to reason.'"

That's where the United Native Nations family reunification program comes in. It was through the Vancouver-based non-profit society that he learned the particulars of his birth mother's own birth. Society worker Lisbeth Hall has been helping Floyd, who began making inquiries in the Delta a short time ago. He says he is trying to be careful in his approach.

"I don't want to name names and I don't want to shock anyone," he said.

"I don't even know if my birth mother is still up there and have no proof that she's even still alive, which is sad to say.

I'm just going by the hope that someone will recognize the situation, because I don't imagine a lot of women from Aklavik were in Victoria in 1971."

Floyd said he's prepared for the worst and if no one responds to his plea, he may keep looking and also determine his aboriginal status.

"I think it would help give me a sense of belonging," he said.

Floyd asked that any inquiries be made through Hall at the Native Nations office at 1-800-544-9701 or (604) 688-1821.