An Inconvenient Truth (about Colonialism)

We begin to dive into Canada’s history – with the goal to view objectively, judge very subjectively, and end up with a clearer picture than what we began with.

Hannah, a morning TALONS learner, tweeted this excellent article which poses a rather heart wrenching question: “Can you live with the knowledge that you are part of a Colonial system?”

Well, Taiaiake Alfred (the author), I sure can – because I don’t even know what a Colonial system is!

“Most people in Canada do not perceive themselves as newcomers to an ancient land that was civilized by people thousands and thousands of years before the French, British and others arrived. This is a serious problem in our society.” (P. 1)

“Ignoring the past and the voices of Native people is what “colonialism” is all about. Colonialism is the disconnection of Native people from the land, their history, their identity and their rights so that others can benefit. It is a basic form of injustice in the world, and has been condemned as a practice by the United Nations. Yet, we have never acknowledged that Canada was built as a colonial country and that it is, in fact, still colonial in many ways.” (P. 3)

The author reminds Canadians of disturbing facts that are easier to ignore than to swallow. Aboriginals are oppressed in horrendous ways by Canada’s government and populace, to such a point that if there is no change now the future of Aboriginal culture is bleak.

I chose this article to remind myself of why we take Social Studies: to learn and apply knowledge that will help us define and unchain our freedom and freedom of others. Specifically, in the PLO issued by the BCED, this text is helping me explore section B2, however I would argue that the time period of 1914-2015 is just as crucial as 1815-1914 when we examine Aboriginal oppression in Canada, and how to stop it.

This is an cohesive, well put together, and hard hitting article. It pokes and prods at dormant cultural insensitivity, and narcissism.

Once again, I ask: Where does our selfishness end?

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