Jeff Eliassen * * Mariafels
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I have stopped existing in the binary my parents created for me: white people are bad, we're good, colonization happened, and then reclamation.
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Who wants to be caught criticizing another fellow native artist publicly? It's practically forbidden; better we keep to criticizing the millions of non-natives appropriating our work than to engage in the equally taxing effort of questioning ourselves. The vacant work of some native art is so lacking I've felt ashamed for staying quiet.
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The land claims industry remains a perpetuation of Canada's colonial policy that seeks to clear title to the land. The language in the policy has shifted over time from blanket extinguishment, to land and resource extinguishment, to defining rights completely.
Book of Mormon is currently on stage in Toronto at the Princess of Wales Theatre (for a second time) until April 16. I saw the show with friends. During (and after), I was deeply bothered by it but I could not fully explain why. Was it the black genital jokes? Or was it the mostly white audience who found such jokes funny?
The reality, as I know it, is that I feel threatened. I feel a general threat to my life - that when people know I'm native they can judge me based on their limited experience with my people, and men can view me with a lecherousness they believe I deserve and ask for. We must continue to survive, carry these stories, and never be afraid to identify our culprits.
Wikimedia Commons/McCord Museum
"I definitely can remember being called a squaw and a man assuming that he had access to me, to my body, to my hair."
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Few are aware that a Montréaler played key role in expanding British colonial rule across Africa. Sir Édouard Percy Girouard rose to fame by helping Britain conquer Sudan.
So there was this CBC-Angus Reid poll. You may have heard about it, or at least seen it while scrolling through your social media feeds this week. It was called the "Canadian Values" poll and it found, according to the original CBC headline, that Canadians want minorities to do more to 'fit in.' This poll made news because it revealed 68 per cent of Canadians thinking minorities should be "doing more to fit in" with mainstream society instead of keeping their own customs and languages. But what I found out after contacting Angus Reid was that 87 per cent of those respondents were white.
Organized sport played an important role in the residential school system, which means that sport is implicated in Canada's history of cultural genocide. How we move our bodies, the values we attach to those movements, and the resources we provide to support certain types of movements and not others are political decisions.
It's not easy being Leonardo DiCaprio. While preaching that fossil fuel use is triggering a global climate catastrophe, Leo hops around the world on fuel-guzzling private jets. "If we do not act together, we will surely perish," he tells the United Nations. I'll say it again: Leo has a hard time aligning his message with his actions.
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Pope Francis' statements are a testament to the immeasurable and enduring damage that colonialism and transatlantic slavery had on Africa. But Pope Francis' covert finger-wagging to African leaders for their role in what the pontiff called 'new colonialism' seems like an apt distraction from the 'old colonialism' the Church has yet to answer for.
Whether our numerous interventions are justified or not, we cannot continue to let our self-imagined grand delusions make us blind to the fact that our actions abroad can come back to haunt us here at home. The problem with this admission, however is that it forces us to look in the mirror to confront our very own imperfections. Yet until we're able to do so, peace in our times will continue to remain an elusive fantasy and the carnage is destined to continue.
India may have thrown off the yoke of colonialism over 60 years ago, but we continue our own oppression. It's easier to point the finger, or show the finger, when the 'other' is distinctly different in terms of geography, skin color, language, and culture. It's more difficult, and perhaps more shameful, to accept ourselves as the oppressor and the exploiter.
You simply cannot live in Canada and ignore the past. It's a pretty strong statement but reading the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into Aboriginal residential schools, that's the conclusion I've come to. The truth may be out but the reconciliation is going to take a while. So just as all Canadians share accountability for what is past, we also share a responsibility for making things better.