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Ending Denial

Ending Denial: Understanding Aboriginal Issues

Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: 2
Pages: 220
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  • Book Info
    Ending Denial
    Book Description:

    Warry examines conservative arguments and mainstream views that promote assimilation and integration as the solution to Aboriginal marginalization.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-0327-1
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-6)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 7-7)
    (pp. 8-8)
    (pp. 9-12)
    (pp. 13-20)

    Canadians remain remarkably insulated from the misery in the world. We know, but have not fully experienced, terrorism, modern epidemics, natural disasters, and extreme poverty. We know that we are privileged. Every United Nations survey ranks us among the elite nations on this earth. By any standard—wealth, natural resources, acceptance of diversity—we are immeasurably fortunate. Yet, there remains within Canada an almost unspeakable reality, which, like a cancer, slowly sickens the body politic. This is the reality of life for Aboriginal peoples, who in many parts of the country experience chronic illness, who live in poverty in Third...

  6. PART I Truth and Denial

    • CHAPTER 1 Truth, Advocacy, and Aboriginal Issues
      (pp. 23-32)

      Speaking to the American Association of Broadcast Journalists in 1995, just as the age of the Internet and globalized communication dawned, veteran reporter John Lawton suggested that “the irony of the Information Age is that it has given new respectability to uninformed opinion.”¹ Today, the Internet offers incredible access to information, much of it of questionable reliability and validity. Columnists and commentators offer opinions on a range of topics, with little research or hard evidence to back their positions. Reality shows abound; the line between news and entertainment, between fiction and reality, has been blurred. Politicians present issues in terms...

    • CHAPTER 2 The New Assimilation Arguments
      (pp. 33-52)

      Assimilation is a word that is used all too casually by Native and non-Native peoples alike. A non-Native person might say that Aboriginal peoples have been assimilated, so suggesting that they have lost their culture. It is also relatively common to hear an Aboriginal person say that their people have been assimilated or that they can’t go back to the old ways or traditions of their culture. Yet, in the same breath, Aboriginal speakers talk of belonging to two cultures or of the significance of their Aboriginal identity.

      Assimilation—literally the process by which a minority population is absorbed into...

    • CHAPTER 3 Ending Denial: Acknowledging History and Colonialism
      (pp. 53-68)

      In debates about Aboriginal peoples, history is often contested and whitewashed. The neo-conservative right, in both Canada and Australia, relies for its arguments on historical revisionism or denial. They claim that Aboriginal poverty and ill health are the result of the failure of contemporary policies rather than the product of hundreds of years of colonialism and that any moral wrongs occurred as part of colonial history. On the other hand, Aboriginal advocates argue that clear government and public recognition for past wrongs, by apology and compensation, is necessary if reconciliation with Aboriginal peoples is to occur. As Robert Manne (2001)...

    • CHAPTER 4 The Media: Sustaining Stereotypes
      (pp. 69-84)

      In our rush to make sense of ever-increasing amounts of information, we often look for simple explanations. The media serves a useful purpose: they help us understand the surface reality of a complex world. Even where specific issues are given heavy print coverage, such as with health care reform, media analysis does little to improve our understanding of the issues. Jeffrey Simpson has lamented the average Canadian’s ignorance of social policy by referring to polls such as one by Ipsos-Reid, sponsored by theGlobe and Mail, that showed that even after extensive coverage of the Romanow Report on health care,...

  7. PART II Understanding Aboriginal Issues

    • CHAPTER 5 Putting Culture into the Debates
      (pp. 87-98)

      The concept of culture is central to anthropology and the social sciences. Anthropologists examine how cultures change, cultural boundaries are created, and cultural identity is protected. But they have not always been able to convey to the public just how significant the concept of culture is for human behaviour. And confusion about the nature of culture is a key problem in the debates about Aboriginal peoples.

      In early formulations, cultures were thought of as the sum total of beliefs, behaviours, customs, and rituals expressed, often in the form of institutions, by humans as members of a society. This allowed anthropologists...

    • CHAPTER 6 Being Aboriginal: Identity
      (pp. 99-110)

      When we think of ourselves, we conjure up tiny parcels of the culture—or cultures—that influence our ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. The types of food we enjoy, the music we listen to, the key values (privacy, respect, justice) we hold dearly—all are part of our internalized culture. Thus, individual identity can be seen as personalized culture.

      We can speak of individual, group, and cultural identities, which are intertwined with one another. We each have a nested layer of such identities that helps orient us to others in the world. A person is a mother, daughter, spouse,...

    • CHAPTER 7 Culture in the City
      (pp. 111-122)

      Perhaps the greatest myth about Aboriginal people is that when they move to the city, they abandon their culture. Propagated by the neo-conservative right, it is a myth assumed to be true by many mainstream Canadians. There are several assumptions behind it: that Aboriginal culture is tied to the reserve; that relations to the land—hunting, trapping, environmental concerns—are synonymous with Aboriginal culture; and that leaving the reserve is a conscious choice to adopt mainstream lifestyles and values. In each of these assumptions, there is some truth; for example, relations to the land remain an important part of Aboriginal...

    • CHAPTER 8 Courts and Claims: Aboriginal Resource Rights
      (pp. 123-136)

      Land claims and rights to animal, forest, and mineral resources are central to the future economic development of many, if not all, First Nations and Métis communities. For neo-conservatives this is a critical issue because they believe Aboriginal rights, as collective rights—especially rights concerning resource industries, particularly both inland and ocean fisheries—are at odds with mainstream interests and antithetical to a small “l” liberal ideology that emphasizes the protection of individual rights. They see rights-based arguments for control of resources (salmon, lobster, or fur-bearing animals) as arguments for race-based rights and therefore a threat to non-Aboriginal sport and...

    • CHAPTER 9 Sustainable Economic Development
      (pp. 137-150)

      The neo-conservative right suggests that Aboriginal economic practices are unsuited to the contemporary economy. As we have seen (Chapter 5), such views leave little room for an understanding of Aboriginal practices which, while distinct, have been adapted to fit the contemporary marketplace. My focus in this chapter is on reserve-based economies rather than urban businesses. We know next to nothing about the values and practices of Aboriginal entrepreneurs, who have not been the subject of much research or debate, although nearly 86 per cent of 27,195 self-employed Aboriginal people reside off reserve, with over 61 per cent in urban centres....

    • CHAPTER 10 Hopeful Signs: Capacity Building in Health
      (pp. 151-166)

      In this chapter I examine Aboriginal health care as an example of capacity building.¹ This, the area that I know best, demonstrates the complexity of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal efforts to improve the lives of individuals and communities in a slow, positive, and incremental process of change. The good news is that capacity has been developed in many fields during the modern Aboriginal rights era, despite the nay-saying of the neo-conservative right. As a result, many, perhaps most, First Nations are poised to assume control over a wide range of jurisdictions. These jurisdictions comprise something more than a municipal form of...

    • CHAPTER 11 The Third Order: Accountable Aboriginal Governments
      (pp. 167-182)

      In order to improve the conditions facing Aboriginal peoples on reserve, Aboriginal leaders must have the ability to control their own affairs and develop culturally appropriate political institutions. Self-government is the political mechanism through which a broad variety of Aboriginal rights to self-determination—from the implementation of Indigenous forms of law and medicine through to spiritual practices—will be implemented and protected. Currently, the vast majority of First Nations operate within jurisdictions normally associated with municipalities and with their authority delegated by the federal government according to the Indian Act. What Aboriginal leaders want is real authority, without having to...

  8. CONCLUSION The River
    (pp. 183-194)

    During the early contact period, the Haudenosaunee and Dutch made treaties of peace and friendship. These treaties were marked symbolically by the gifts of wampum belts.¹ One of these, the Gus-Wen-Tah or Two Row Wampum, has become an important symbol in the debate over Aboriginal issues, largely as a metaphor for distinct status and self-government.

    The Two Row Wampum is comprised of two rows of purple wampum on a white background. The white represents the purity of the agreement and the purple the spirits of European and Aboriginal ancestors. Between the two rows are three threads of wampum that symbolize...

    (pp. 195-205)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 206-220)