lecture march 15
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POL214 LEC MARCH 15
1. TEXBOOK IMAGES OF ABORIGINALS
the UN HDI, this past year, cananda was number 3, if you break up the stats for aboirginals, canandian
aboriginals was number 63, in terms of education, cananda is th enumber 1 in the world in terms of
education. If you break this up for the abroiginals, half live on reserves, cananda is number in
education, but status indaians I terms of educatio in canada are number 71.
now the textbooks im talking about are the ones we got in schools during 1870s and 1860s, aboriginals
were condiered second class citizens, they couldnt vote til 1960, they couldnt sue the govnerment, they
were also different that aother citizens, they didn't have ot pay taxes, the governemnt aim for recent
aboriignals, I am talking about indians both metis and innuits.
The govenrments view was darwinian, which was that they best way to approach the abroiginsl was to
assimilate and integrate them somehow into the broader socieity. The view was that there was no future
for natives in this country, that their lifestyles were contrary to those of the modern industrializatio
culture. They had to be brought into the mainstream socieity. Indians are segregated socially, theyw
ere once asylyms owekers, and theyw ere marginalized eocnomically, they werepresented as inferior
human beings. The textbooks were depicted as sinister, vicious, not having a culture, compared to
wilde animals. They were also described as cunning and stealthy, they had great endurance for cold,
hunger, and fatigue, they were described as living in filthy condiitions, warliek.
-so abriigiaonsl were depicted as being full of supersittion, their spiritiaul traditions were seen as from
-when indians were killed in clashes with whites, this was described as the spread of civiliation, and the
cowboy whites were seen as heroes, they were conqouring frontiers and discovering new horizions.
Now native children were also educatied this way, this gave them a low self-esteem. This was a n
ethnocentric rascist view, the french experienced this too, but the aboriginal context was much greater
because unlike the french, the natives were seen as only part-human and more animal.
More aboriginals died from disease than from violent conflicts with whites. When whites were killed
even a few this was called a massacre, but when neatives were killed this was called a spread of
civilization. They viewed the natives as savages, part of the environment.
-some people continue to view aboriginals as somehwat inferior, 20 years ago british columbia referred
to natives as lacking all the requirements of civilization before contact. The extent then to which they
are civilized is only dependent on the extent to which the whites had conqoured and civilized them.
-so we had a master race theory of the eurpeans against the aboriginals, thats the impression we got
from the TEXTBOOK IMAGES OF ABORIGIANLS
2. ABORIGINAL QUEBEC PARALLELS
we saw the french canandaisn have their linguistic and relgigious rights recoggnizaed. They ahd to
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reight to use religgion, and the french language. And with confederation, they got hteir own state. It
was created to protect the french socieity. And when we looked at multiculturalism, we can make the
observation that other groups, the itlaisions, ukranians, asians, africans, are moving up the
socioeconomic ladder in candna, although at different rates.
Despirte the fact that there were discirmination against these groups in the past, now they are protected
by the charter etc. but when it comes to native identiity the natives were long suppressed. The frenchw
ere fenced in, because theyw ere in quebec.
But the aborigianls, they were margininalized across cananda, they did not have any barrier like qubec.
So children were seperated from their parents I the name of assimilation. Theyw ere sent off to
christian missioinary schools. Infact many of ht eabrogiianls commnties, in northern ontario, whya re
they located where they are? Is because families can move to close to the schools so they canhave
ocntact with their abogiinals children.
So theidea was to assimilate the children into mainstream culture.
Based on this experience, the analsyis among quebecois and aboirginals, had natioanlists in both
camps. They bosed described their histories as being oppressed.
While the quebecois was getting more rights, the abroigianls wer eloosing their recongiziation and
-the french became urbanized, industrial, and became office workers.
-but for the aborgiianls, the huinting-culture had died because the whit epeoiople had killed off the
buffalos. Mot of the inuit in the northern territories were also relocated. When I say that parralell
analaysis between french and aboiriginals, this is what happens:
in aearly 60s we had a firest waves of decolonization, large parts of africa and asia were being
colonized. Like new guini, gana, congo, central african republic, uganda, nigera, etc. and that was a
model for quebec natioanlists, if these oppressed socieities can gain independencce, why couldn't the
quobecois? So ther ewas an anti-imperialist notion of movement.
Similarily the aboriginals took this view and thought of themselves as being coloized victims.
So now the textbooks of today are very sympatheitic to the aborigianls. This has mad epeople more
proud of their aboriigianl backgorund.
Both quebecorers and aborigianl natioanlists, notiitons of fighting liberalism, imperialism, etc. they
adopted the language of nationalist groups in the third world. The quebec govnerment served as a
model for aborigianils in dealing with ottawa and other govnerments. So abroigianls leaders showed
up, and said we are more distinct than the quebecois. But there are differences ebtween the coinditions
of french and that of aborigianls. French is declinging in intensitiy throughout cannada, but in quebec
its becoming stronger than even before. However for abroiginals, their languages are vanishing, this is
an important difference. The quebecois speak french, the abroiginals have many differing languages,
they do not have a common language. There are many different aborigianls languages, and varrying
different cultural =triaditions among abroiginal groups.
-french canandains as part of all cnanadians are shrinking in numbers, while abroigianls are gorwing in
numbers. Look at the dramatic growth in the abrigianal idendity.
By 1996, 800 000 people in the country called themselvs abroigianls, this number grew to a million
people over the years. This is not ebcause of population, but because more people are coming forward
and saying they are aboriginals. If you include those that say they are mixed, its even a bigger number.
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