Hello, my name is Christina Raffaella Eleftheriou, I am 21 years old and my preferred pronouns are she/her/hers. I refer to myself as a ‘cisgendered,’ ‘heterosexual’ female, and I identify as all of these roles because these are what I feel most comfortable with identifying myself as. Of course, what I identify myself as does happen to be the normalcy of society, however, I also connect with these labels, as they are solely apart of my identity. As well, I also currently reside in Waterloo, Ontario, which is otherwise known as the ‘Neutral,’ ‘Haudenosaunee,’ ‘Anishinabewaki,’ the ‘Mississauga’s,’ and ‘Anishinaabe’ peoples and the treaties of this land include the ‘Haldimand Treaty’ and ‘Treaty 3, 1792.’ I respect the land of all individuals and colonies of our divine and united nation, and I sincerely hope that the history of every group that set foot on Canada truly gets acknowledged and understood for many futures and generations to come.
I am of South Eastern European descent. My mother’s family lineage began and continues to live in Messina, Sicily, Italy, otherwise known as the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. While my father’s ancestry began in Lesvos, Mytilene, Greece, the third largest island within the country. My mother’s maiden name is ‘Arena,’ one that originates from Spanish descent. This name translates to ‘sand,’ ‘sandy place,’ and also an ‘arena,’ more particularly specifying a ‘(bull) ring.’ The history behind my mother’s family name dates back to the 16th century. Between 1554 and 1860, Sicily was essentially in Spanish “possession.” Known at the time as the ‘Spanish Kingdom of Naples,’ Charles V, who was the Former Emperor of Spain in 1516, and later, the Holy Roman Emperor, handed the crowns to his son, Philip ll. His successor led the ruling of Sicily under Spanish rule for more than 200 years. This period was therefore under immense Spanish influence, until the defeat of Spain in the ‘War of the Spanish Succession.’ Hence why my maternal ancestry’s surname is not of traditional Italian descent.
My father’s surname however, is rather lengthy and difficult to pronounce. Our family’s name is ‘Eleftheriou,’ which translates from the Greek word ‘Eleftheria,’ meaning ‘Freedom’ and ‘Liberty.’ This name comes from Saint Eleftherios, a Greek symbol of Religion and Christianity during the 2ndcentury AD. After meeting the Bishop of Rome, he soon after became a bishop himself. After Emperor Sevirus became the new ruler of Rome, he ordered Eleftherios, along with many other bishops and Christians, to their death, as he was against the Christian religion. He was later declared a martyr and Saint by the Greek church, and is known as a protector of expectant mothers and of childbirth, as he shared a close bond with his mother, Saint Anthia. Saint Eleftherios is celebrated annually on December 15th for his miracles and blessings that he brought about throughout his lifetime. Overall, I am grateful to follow the cultures that I was raised upon, and sincerely hope to learn about other additional cultures in the future of this course, as well.