A young First Nations boy from Cold Lake, Alta., cut his long hair Saturday after enduring what his family called years of bullying in school.
Mylon McArthur, 8, told his mother Tiya-Marie Large he wanted to cut his hair, which had been long all his life, after feeling overwhelmed from constant bullying at Cold Lake Elementary School.
“He told me he did not want his hair anymore,” said Large. “I cried. His hair is who we are, it’s a part of us, it’s his language, it’s his pride.”
Despite not wanting him to cut his hair and “let the bullies win,” she spotted the opportunity to raise awareness about cultural racism and bullying.
“My son is a very loving, capable, caring person,” said Large. “He was bullied every day, every recess, every out-of-day school program session. He was always sad, he didn’t want to go to school. This was affecting his well-being.”
Friday, Mylon and his mother made a video and posted it to Facebook to bring awareness to the significance of long hair in Indigenous cultures.
In the video, Mylon holds up white paper cards with words written on them for his bullies: “You do not define me. You did not beat me. I am not weak. It’s OK to have long hair.”
“We told Mylon he was brave, strong and handsome. That we were so proud of him,” said Large.
The video quickly caught on, with more than 51,000 views since being posted. Despite the response, Mylon still chose to cut his hair, said Large.