First Nations

Category: First Nations

I started school in 1956 in a one-room schoolhouse west of Wilton, Ontario, in a tiny community called Thorpe, which encompassed about five or six farms. From that moment on, my teachings about Native Studies encompassed, to my recollection, a few pages on the Iroquois and pictures of teepees and longhouses. To be a Native at that time was definitely not cool. Being designated a Native would have brought beatings, stares, and a path towards poverty because no one would hire you.

Unless you’ve spent the past few weeks living in an internet-free cave in Afghanistan, you are probably aware of the “cultural appropriation prize” fiasco. In short, attempting to explain the expansive creativity of contemporary indigenous writers, Write magazine editor Hal Niedzviecki suggested a learned ability to appropriate. “Buffeted by history and circumstance,” he wrote, indigenous writers must borrow and engage with cultures not their own, and “so often must write from what they don’t know.” As a joke, he suggested a “cultural appropriation prize.”

The Story of Red Wolf

Posted on February 20 by Jennifer Dance

My husband and I migrated to Canada in 1979. We were a young bi-racial couple, searching for a place where our children could achieve their full potential regardless of skin colour. But my husband died shortly after arriving in Canada, and suddenly I was alone in a new country with two pre-schoolers and a third child on the way. It was then that I learned about the Indian Residential School System, and the Indian Act that enabled it.