History of Colonization
Last night went well. It’s kind of hard for me to gauge how well as I was one of the presenters and we didn’t have a lot of time for Q and A. The feedback I received was very good though. Mark blogged about it.
The subject of native issues is a very deep one and it is impossible to even summarize all the major issues in one evening. The following is a list of some the historical injustices that the First Nations have endured.
- Treaties were negotiated with the best interests of the crown
- Canada has failed to recognize the nation-to-nation status of the treaty negotiations
- Christian missionaries taught First Nation’s people that every aspect of their culture was evil
- Reserve lands were arbitrarily siezed
- It has taken over 100 years to resolve land claims issues, many are still outstanding
- Residential schools were often harsh places where many were abused
- The entire aboriginal way of life was in flux and many turned to alcohol
- A cycle of abuse and dependancy was perpetuated
- The Canadian gov’t has acted paternally assuming Aboriginals are incapable of governing themselves
- Racism constantly blocks the progress of a marginalized people
- False social theories about aboriginal people and culture were spread in order to justify mistreatment
- Many First Nations people have internalized a sense of inferiority and hate their own identity
- Young people were disconnected from their heritage and family members when they were forced to speak english and barred from speaking their own language
- Non-aboriginals are often ignorant of the deeper issues and have judged entire people groups based on misinformation spread through the media and word of mouth
I used to believe that the First Nation’s people should respond like any other marginalized group, suck it up and work their way of their problems. After researching the subject more I realize how difficult this is. The self perpetuating cycle of racism, abuse and addictions make it very difficult to create real change.
What grieves me the most is that my people have treated another group so poorly for so long that many First Nations people hate their own identity. I have had personal friends that internalized a sense of inferiority. It’s usually combined with some form of depression. I can’t just go to them and say ‘suck it up and get to work’. That doesn’t work. In many cases it probably makes things worse. I can’t imagine living in a community where internalized inferiority, depression, suicide and hopelessness are commonplace.
I hope to recruit some First Nation’s people in to blogging so they can share their stories. I think it could be a marvelous step in helping some of us to understand.