Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Why It is Taking Me So Long to Write a Multi-Part counterpoise.ca Series About Cultural Misappropriation, As It Relates to Indigenous People Who Live in Canada

Disclaimer: My references to the writings of other people--both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous--do not in any way imply that they share my views on this matter.  In addition, the images I have included are for expositional purposes only.  The people in these images may not share my views.  The opinions expressed here are my own, and do not necessarily represent those of my family, friends or associates.

Note One: The title of this post includes the phrase "Indigenous people who live in Canada," rather than "Canadian Indigenous people." because I know there are some Aboriginals living in this country who do not consider themselves to be Canadian.  I recognize that many Aboriginals have legitimate grievances that need to be addressed.  However, I think they are better off to try and resolve their differences, while remaining Canadian.

Note Two: The nature photos, which I took during walks in my neighbourhood, have nothing to do with the contents of this post.  I included them as a reminder of our universal connection to the natural world.

A.          Introduction: Two Sides to Every Story

Since January 2017, I have been working on a multi-part counterpoise.ca series about cultural misappropriation as it relates to Indigenous people who live in Canada.  The reason it is taking me so long is because I have been revisiting my late parents' and my connection, not only to this particular topic, but also to Aboriginal issues generally.  It has been an eye opener for me to review 60 years of this material.

Because it is going to take me more time to finish the multi-part series, I have, in the interim, published this abbreviated one-post version.

Before I started working on this series, I considered myself to be relatively well-versed regarding the historical reasons why Aboriginal people are sometimes exploited because of the misuse of their work or ideas.  But my research has made me realize the roots of the problem are much more extensive than I had realized.

Duck in water, London, Ontario, September 15, 2016

Nevertheless, I had been familiar with many aspects of the topic from an early age, mainly because my late parents got involved with Indigenous issues in 1958 when I was six.  For further information about my parents connection, you can check out my December 15, 2016 leithpeterson.ca post, entitled "Part Four of Four: Tribute to Jay Peterson (1920-1976), on the 40th Anniversary of Her Passing - Her Involvement With Indigenous Issues, 1958-1976, December 15, 2016,"  Go to https://www.leithpeterson.ca, and click on the "Jay Peterson" label in the right sidebar, to find it.

https://www.leithpeterson.ca/2016/12/part-four-of-four-tribute-to-jay.html

In addition, my September 27, 2013 leithpeterson.ca post, entitled "Charles T. Peterson (1913-2007) - His (Rejected) Submission to the Royal Commission on the Northern Environment, 1978," includes many of my father's views on Aboriginal issues.  Go to https://www.leithpeterson.ca, and click on the "Charles T. Peterson" label in the right sidebar, to find it.

https://www.leithpeterson.ca/2013/09/charles-t-peterson-1913-2007-his.html

My parents instilled in me a deep appreciation for genuine Indigenous creations.  We had quite a few examples in our family home, some of which I now have in mind.  In addition, I have other treasures that I have purchased over the years.

My knowledge of Aboriginal matters expanded dramatically when I worked primarily in Native organizations in Southern and Northern Ontario and the Northwest Territories, from 1975 to 1987.  My employment in this area included some work in the cultural field.  Consequently, I have some understanding of Indigenous knowledge, and appreciate why many traditionalists object to the commodification of it.

From the 1970s onwards, I have recorded my views on Aboriginal matters in published and unpublished form.  I consulted with quite a few Indigenous people about my writings until around the mid-2000s.  Although I got a lot of very helpful advice from these individuals, I concluded that I was often better off to work on my own.  I will have more to say about why I decided to go solo in my multi-part series.

The mid-2000s was also the period when I decided to disengage from the Indigenous "cause."  Since then I have mostly been on the outside looking in.  However, I have continued to write about my experiences, because it helps me to make sense of all that happened to me.

From 1990 onward, my employment has been almost entirely in the mainstream.  I am not out to make a living out of writing about my experiences with Aboriginals, but I feel my perspective needs to be taken into consideration, along with those of Indigenous people writing about their situation.

I do not agree with those who think only people from the culture in question should be able to comment.  Sometimes those on the outside looking in can provide insights that those directly involved cannot publicly voice for various reasons.

In April 2011, I launched both my leithpeterson.ca and counterpoise.ca blogs.  A few Aboriginals have given me positive feedback on some of my previous counterpoise.ca posts.  But I did not consult with them before publishing my views.

Nevertheless, I realize it is important to be very careful what I say about this subject.  That is why I spent months working on my previous counterpoise.ca posts.  And, as mentioned, earlier, I have been working on the cultural misappropriation topic since January 2017.  During this time, I have read hundreds of articles about the misuse of Indigenous heritage.  Many were written by Aboriginal people who have been personally wounded by the loss of their culture.  It was heartbreaking for me to review so many accounts of the damage this has caused.

I also looked at scores of articles by People of Colour (PoC).  Quite a few acknowledged they borrowed from other cultures all the time.  Their main concern was that any writing about the subject had to be done respectfully and carefully.  But Indigenous discussions were frequently less nuanced and more focussed on blaming cultural loss almost entirely on colonization.  Those Aboriginals who thought that the cultural misappropriation issue needed to be examined in context got relatively little attention.

So, if Aboriginals who want to consider both sides of a story often get short shrift, my prospects of having my voice heard, as a Non-Aboriginal, are even worse.  In fact, many social justice advocates claim that my views are of no value because of the colour of my skin.  But I disagree with this viewpoint.  Indigenous issues were front and centre during a number of pivotal times in my life, including my mother's December 1976 passing.

What I am presenting is my interpretation of my experiences.  This is not the same as Non-Indigenous individuals writing fictional or non-fictional accounts about Aboriginals they have no connection to.  I think it is important to make this distinction because a lot of the cultural misappropriation debates have concentrated on Non-Indigenous people writing about Indigenous people without having any background to the subject matter.  This is not the case with many elements of the story I am telling.

Duck, London, Ontario, September 12, 2016

Although I frequently understand Indigenous peoples' cultural misappropriation concerns, there have been some instances where I think the objections have gone off the rails, into an outright censorship situation.  I have a right, as a participant in an experience with an Aboriginal person, to express my opinion of what I think happened in that interaction.  The Aboriginal person, of course, has the right to counter my interpretation.

I pay for both my blogs out of my own pocket.  Although I am working on a book about my two generations of experience with Indigenous issues, it is still at the developmental stage and there have been no financial transactions so far in this regard.

If people do not like my views, then they can ignore them.  But, because there are two sides to every story, I think my opinions should be out there for those who want to consider another perspective.

B.          Terminology for Indigenous Peoples Is Multi-Layered and Multi-Faceted

In the multi-part counterpoise.ca series I am working on regarding cultural misappropriation, I include a section on terminology relating to Indigenous peoples.  This is because there is quite a bit of confusion regarding why and how certain terms apply to the first inhabitants of this country.  Below is an abbreviated version of what I plan to include in my multi-part series.

B.1        Canadian Federal Government's Interpretation of Indigenous/Aboriginal Terminology

The uncertainty over terminology has been heightened by numerous changes to Indigenous policy since Prime Minster Justin Trudeau took office in November 2015.  For instance, in August 2017, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) split into two departments: Indigenous Services Canada, and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada.  While the split is taking effect, people are directed to either the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada or the Indigenous Services Canada home pages.

On the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada site, a December 4, 2017 entry says:

"Indigenous peoples" is a collective term for the original peoples of North America and their descendants.  Often "Aboriginal peoples" is also used.  The Canadian Constitution recognized three groups of Aboriginal peoples: Indians (more commonly referred to as First Nations), Inuit and Metis.  These are three distinct peoples with unique histories, languages, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs.

What I take this to mean is that the term "Aboriginal peoples" is defined in the Canadian Constitution and "Indigenous peoples" is not.

In a March 23, 2018 article about the University of Victoria's Indigenous Law degree program, which starts in September 2018, there is a distinction made between "Aboriginal law" and "Indigenous law."  According to this article, when Canadian common and civil laws interact with Indigenous communities, it is called "Aboriginal law."  But when Indigenous people utilize their own self-governing oral laws, it is called "Indigenous law."

So, even though I use the terms Indigenous and Aboriginal interchangeably throughout this post, Aboriginal has a distinct meaning in terms of the Canadian legal system.

B.1.1      Indian

As mentioned above, the Canadian Constitution recognizes the term "Indian."  This is at least partly because 'Indian" has a legal meaning in documents, such as the Indian Act.  Bob Joseph provides guidance on when Indian should and should not be used in a post he wrote for the "Working Effectively With Indigenous Peoples" blog.  You can find the citation for this in the bibliography at the end of this post.

The most recent edition of the online Canadian Press Stylebook recommends that the term Indian be avoided "except when it is the stated preference."  Status Indians sometimes prefer it to be used.

B.1.2      First Nations

"'First Nations people' include Status and Non-Status Indians."

B.1.3      Metis

The federal government defines Metis as "one of the three recognized Aboriginal peoples in Canada, along with Indians (First Nations) and Inuit."

As Metis Adam Gaudry explained in his "Metis" entry for the Canadian Encyclopedia, the term is "complex and contentious."  I recommend reading Gaudry's article for further information.

B.1.4       Inuit

"Inuit are the Indigenous people of the Arctic.  The word Inuit means 'the people' in the Inuit language.  The singular for Inuit is 'Inuk.'"

B.2          Native

When I was working in Aboriginal organizations in the 1970s and 1980s, the use of the term "Native" was common.  But, in a July 2016 blog post, Bob Joseph described Native as an "outdated collective term," although he acknowledged some groups, such as the Native Women's Association of Canada, still use it.

B.3          How Indigenous/Aboriginal People Describe Themselves

Many Indigenous people prefer to describe themselves in their own traditional way.

C           Cultural Misappropriation and Related Terminology Issues

The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature defines cultural appropriation as the "taking over of creative or artistic forms, themes or practices by one cultural group from another."  This "taking over" can be a positive or negative occurrence, depending on the circumstances.

The 2015 guidebook "Think Before You Appropriate: things to know and questions to ask in order to avoid misappropriating Indigenous cultures" navigates the reader through this issue.  It was published by the Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage project (IPinCH) at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.  iPinCH is a "collaboration of scholars, students, heritage professionals, community members, policy makers and Indigenous organizations across the globe."

The guidebook notes that cultural appropriation occurs all the time, so the issue is more one of cultural misappropriation, which is a "one-sided practice where one entity benefits from another group's culture without permission and without giving something back in return."  I think the term cultural misappropriation is far more accurate and will use it as much as possible instead.

However, I will still employ cultural appropriation if it applies in a particular context, e.g., it is used in the title of the work being cited.

D          Lack of Consensus on What Cultural Misappropriation Means and When it Occurs

As explained in Part C above, cultural appropriation occurs when the process is one-sided, rather than reciprocal.  Although this interpretation certainly lays out the groundwork for further dialogue, there is still debate over when the process is one way.

There are also difficulties reconciling intellectual property rights (IPRs) with many Indigenous world views.  IPRs are a Western construct designed to protect literary, artistic and other works, through the use of copyright, patents, trademarks and designs legislation.  There is usually a commercial, individual, "fixated," and time-limited methodology to IPRs.

But the spiritual, variable and overlapping aspects of most Indigenous philosophies often do not mesh with IPRs.  Traditional knowledge does not view heritage as a commodity that can be bought and sold, so the economic rights aspects of IPRs often conflict with this.

Pink Flower, London, Ontario, July 4, 2016

Another difficulty is that traditional knowledge terminology is open to varying interpretations, depending on the Indigenous group consulted.  I agree with those who believe this knowledge needs to be more clearly explained.  As an April 2, 2018 Globe and Mail editorial pointed out, "a strong definition would only give it more value."

Additional specifics are also required for cultural misappropriation terminology.  Toronto, Ontario, Canada, writer, Brian Fawcett, is right that more exacting vocabularies, such as those from the literary, philosophical or legal traditions, would make communicating regarding this topic more effective.

I think the more specific vocabulary should be legal, but should be developed in such a way that it respects both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous protocols.  However, I believe there are times when a compromise needs to be struck between the two world views.

Michael F. Brown is the president of the School for Advanced Research (SAR) in Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States.  SAR supports Native American research in anthropology and related fields.  Brown believes "legal protocols" are needed to "resolve knotty questions."

The 189-member Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) is part of the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).  Since the early 2000s, the IGC has been trying to come up with a global process to protect Indigenous cultural property.

Canadian Indigenous groups, such as the Assembly of First Nations, have expressed concerns about the lack of financial support they are getting to participate in these talks.  This is because many of them are hoping that the IGC can make misappropriating Indigenous culture illegal worldwide.

But it seems to me that if the IGC has not been able to make much progress after 17 years, it does not seem likely this will change much, even if funding were supplied to Canadian Indigenous groups.  I believe this is because tribal systems have frequently become fragmented due to the passage of time and modernity.

I am far from an expert, but, after examining this issue for more than a year, I contend it often appears to be easier to implement cultural misappropriation compliance on a case-by-case basis, or with regards to specific items, such as visual art.  Trying to come up with a global interpretation is very difficult due to the many different views in Indigenous communities.  For instance, some have both elected and hereditary systems, which often have different perspectives.

This is where I think Michael F. Brown's "legal protocols" to "resolve knotty questions" could apply.  There will be some instances where the issue will be relatively straightforward, such as with a tribe that has a longstanding tradition of using a particular art style or custom.  But there will be others where the cultural entity has been influenced by such a confluence of factors, that it would be difficult if not impossible to confirm a cultural misappropriation charge.

White flower, London, Ontario, September 16, 2016


Some traditionalists maintain that the way around this problem is to decolonize and create small independent nations or sovereign entities.  They believe that going back to Indigenous systems wherever possible is the best route forward.  I disagree with some aspects of this.  As I said in Note One at the beginning of this post, I recognize that many Indigenous people have legitimate grievances that need to be addressed.  However, I think they are better off to try and resolve their differences, while remaining Canadian.  Many Aboriginal people are able to function successfully in both worlds.

In addition, there is a tendency for some traditionalists to idealize pre-contact societies.  They make it sound like returning to the old ways will resolve all the current dysfunction.  But I maintain these societies, with their frequent inter-tribal warfare, and the disparaging treatment of women by some tribes, were often far from idyllic.  It might be better, in some instances, to take the best from both worlds, and create hybridized systems, that still support Canadian sovereignty, but respect Indigenous world views.  However, these systems need to include economic partnerships with the Aboriginal community, that will lead to financial sustainability.

Perhaps the four-year Indigenous Law degree, which will be starting at the University of Victoria in September 2018, may cause me to revise some of my views.  This program, which is the first of its kind in the world, will combine Indigenous methodology with Canadian common law.  To me, this is a form of hybridity, which could lead to a better legal framework.  So possibly out of this, the best of both worlds can be achieved.

E           "Necessity the Mother of Invention" in My Mother's Baby Carrying Creations - And I Was a Factor in this "Necessity"

Before working on this cultural misappropriation series, I had assumed that my father's circa 1970 biographical sketch, which stated that my mother became interested in the "plight of Indians" in 1958 was accurate.  But now that I have had a chance to examine my mother's files more closely, it appears she was at least aware of some Aboriginal matters before this date.  This was because she invented several baby carriers, which she acknowledged were influenced by a variety of different cultures, including Indigenous.

She was an artist and an art historian who saw the creative process as a continuum throughout history that was built upon and added to by successive generations and cultures.  Therefore, her inventions incorporated the ingenuity of mothers throughout the ages.

She said in a 1958 London Free Press article that "necessity was the mother of invention."  As the oldest of her four children, I know I was a factor in her "necessity."  This was because I was always taking off down the street, into the water, and so on.  She decided that for her three younger children, she would be prepared.

Leith Peterson "eavesdropping" on neighbours, 1953


In May 1955, a photo of my baby brother Chris in a "webbing sling" on my mother's back, with three-year old me looking on from a stroller, appeared in the London Free Press.

London Free Press, May 10 or 11, 1955

Since you will likely have trouble reading the cutline it says:

The Indians thought of it--Mrs. Charles Peterson adapted it--little Christopher Peterson loves it.  Mrs. Peterson has three children three years old and under, and getting them from place to place presented problems until she thought of the practical solution devised by the Indians.  Above she pushes three-year old Leith in her cart, while Christopher rides comfortably in a webbing sling on his mother's back.  (Photo by Ernie Lee, Free Press Staff Photographer).

This photo and cutline are part of the London Free Press Collection of Photographic Negatives, Western Archives, Western University.

Also below is a scan of the actual photo that appeared in the London Free Press in May 1955.

L-R: Chris, Jay and Leith Peterson, London Free Press, 1955


My mother was certainly unlike many other Non-Indigenous people in the 1950s because she acknowledged she got her sling idea from the Indians.  She did not act like it was her creation alone.

(Note: Although the Peterson family home on Dufferin Avenue in London, Ontario, Canada (ca. 1951-1977) was sometimes referred to as the "United Nations," and there were East Indians who visited our home over the years, I have concluded from looking at my mother's files that she was crediting North American Indians for the sling concept.)

In a 1959 Chatelaine article, Mom said that she had not patented her creations "because that might lead to a business venture that would take her away from her children."  She was so selfless that she never got any financial compensation for any of her baby carrying devices.  In fact, the Chatelaine article included a diagram on how to make the baby chair.  The chair was initially referred to as the "Peter Perch," and later the "babi-sitter."

Here is a 1958 London Free Press photo of my brother Don in the "babi-sitter."

Don Peterson in "babi-sitter," London Free Press, November 6, 1958


From 1958 to 1967, the babi-sitter was one of the major fundraisers for the Service League of London.  It was available for purchase in hospital gift shops across Canada, and was also sold in Switzerland, Italy, France, England, Bermuda and the United States.  In 1966, the League made $3,000 on the sale of the chair alone.

Below is a 1953 photo of my brother Stu in another one of my mother's inventions, called the "babi-toter" (a.k.a. the "shoulder bag carrier").  The Chatelaine article also included a diagram on how to make the toter.

Stu Peterson in "babi-toter," 1953

(Note: Stu's legs and feet were in casts because he has club feet.  His legs and feet were later straightened.)

A November 6, 1958 London Free Press article, entitled "Necessity Mother of Invention" included a photo of Mom at the stove at our home on Dufferin Avenue, with my brother Don in the babi-toter.

Jay with Don Peterson in toter, London Free Press, 1958


Joan May, the author of this article, said my mother "thought of ways Indian mothers, Eskimos and Chinese have looked after infants from ancient times.  She adapted the old ideas to new ones of her own."

I wonder if my mother was aware of the Jolly Jumper around the time that she was giving credit to the Indians for some of her baby carrying concepts.  This is because Susan Olivia Poole (1889-1975) was part Ojibway (also spelled Ojibwe).  She was originally from a reserve in Minnesota in the United States, and later moved to Canada.

Poole remembered how an Ojibway mother would rock her baby in a papoose hanging from a sturdy tree branch.  In 1910, Poole used a cloth diaper, axe handle and steel spring to fashion her first Jolly Jumper for Joseph, the first of her seven children.  She marketed her invention in 1948.  In 1957, her son Joseph Poole and she patented it.

Around the mid-1960s, I remember seeing my first cousin smiling and bouncing around in a Jolly Jumper.  Other family toddlers may have also enjoyed it as well, but I can only confirm that my first cousin used it.

For further information about my mother's baby carrying devices, go to my leithpeterson.ca blog.  Click on the "Jay Peterson" label in the right sidebar and look at Part One of Four and Part Two of Four of my December 15, 2016 series, entitled "Tribute to Jay Peterson (1920-1976) on the 40th Anniversary of Her Passing, December 15, 2016."

https://www.leithpeterson.ca/2016/12/part-one-of-four-tribute-to-jay.html

https://www.leithpeterson.ca/2016/12/part-two-of-four-tribute-to-jay.html

In addition, you can read my May 4, 2012 post entitled "Jay Peterson (1920-1976)."

https://www.leithpeterson.ca/2012/05/jay-peterson-1920-1976.html

F.           My Father Wore Genuine Cowichan Sweaters

Around 1977, my father, Charles T. Peterson (1913-2007), moved to Duncan, British Columbia, Canada.  Shortly after he arrived there, he started wearing genuine Cowichan sweaters.  Here is a photo of my father and me in Duncan in December 1995.

L-R: Charles T. Peterson and Leith Peterson, Duncan, 1995

Dad continued to proudly wear the sweaters after he moved back to Ontario in 1997, right up until his final days.  Below is a photo I took of him in October 2006.

Charles T. Peterson, Fergus, Ontario, 2006


Because of working on this post, I ended up doing some research into the history of genuine Cowichan sweaters.  The Coast Salish, which includes the Cowichan, were expert weavers for many years before contact.  By 1500, archeological records show the technique had been perfected.  Blankets and other woven products were usually made from mountain goat wool, dog hair and other long fibres.

After sheep started to be raised on Vancouver Island in the 1850s, a switch was made to this type of wool.  "Coast Salish European circular knitting" was first documented at the Sisters of St. Anne Roman Catholic mission in Duncan.  From about 1864 to 1904, the Sisters of St. Anne provided instructions on how to knit.  In the 1870s, knitting was also taught at the Anglican mission in Metlakatla.

Since the 1950s, the Coast Salish creators of the genuine sweaters have faced relentless competition from those who produce the inauthentic variety.  The copies are often sold at a lower price, thereby undercutting the Indigenous sellers.  As a result, the Cowichan Band Council passed a resolution, in 1981, outlining what constituted an authentic sweater.  The requirements included the type of wool and designs used, and the knitting method.  The band does not have copyright protection on the sweater, but registered the name "Genuine Cowichan."  Each sweater is also given a registration number and a label indicating that it is an authentic product.

Around 1986, my father mailed me a genuine Cowichan hat from Duncan.

Leith Peterson wearing Genuine Cowichan hat, March 2018


It has a "genuine" label in the inside.

Label on inside of Cowichan hat, March 2018

If you have trouble reading the label, it says "Genuine Cowichan by Wilma."

My father was very supportive of Indigenous craftspeople, just like my mother was.  He often bought Indigenous-designed products for family members, including me.  This was one of the ways he showed his respect for Aboriginal people.

G          Conclusion

In 1991, Hartmut Lutz published Contemporary Challenges: Conversations With Canadian Native Authors.  In the preface to the book, Lutz concluded that many Natives wanted Non-Native people ". . .to use self-restraint. . .to learn and listen to First Nations people before writing about them, to at least seek permission before telling their stories."

Well, I have had numerous conversations with Indigenous people over the past 50 years.  In addition, I have read many books by Native authors.  My attendance at plays and presentations by Aboriginals has taught me a lot.  Consequently, I think it is time to move from the back seat to the front and contribute to the discussion.

I do understand the need to get permission for the use of tribal-specific information, such as artistic designs.  I acknowledge that many Aboriginal peoples' histories and cultures have been distorted and exploited over time.  In addition, I recognize that many have taken advantage of Indigenous peoples' traditional knowledge, without giving back anything in return.

Autumn leaf, London, Ontario, October 28, 2016


Nevertheless, I think the permission aspect can end up being a form of censorship if it only amounts to silencing a Non-Aboriginal who wants to state a point of view that does not adhere to the "Aboriginals are always right and Non-Aboriginals are always wrong" narrative.

I contend there are grey areas where stopping misappropriation outright would be difficult if not impossible.  In other words, I think there should be a selective application of cultural misappropriation.

I also believe the personal experiences of Non-Aboriginals who have been involved with the Indigenous situation for one reason or another, need to be taken into account.  I heartily disagree with those who say that only Indigenous people can write their perspectives on this.  Why shouldn't a researcher be able to look at both sides of the story?  The researcher might end up rejecting the Non-Indigenous viewpoint, but it should be available for consideration.

My view is that the ability to operate on two or more cultural paths is a healthier way to live, than to insist on only following one route.  I recognize that because Indigenous people lost so much of their culture over the years, they would want to regain the knowledge and the connection.  But I think it is a mistake to believe that one has to disparage one culture in order to function in another.

I will more to say about all this in my multi-part series.

Bibliography

Academic Entrepreneur (2016, March 26).  Susan Olivia Poole: An Iconic Woman for the Bank of Canada's new Banknote.  academientrepreneur.com

Atkinson, N. (2017, January 3).  Knit wit: 5 things you didn't know about Canada's beloved Cowichan sweater.  globeandmail.com

Austin (2017, August 17).  Protecting Indigenous Cultural Property: Is Intellectual Property Law Actually the Answer?  pacficpeoplespartnership.org

Bird, H. (2017, June 13).  Cultural appropriation: make it illegal worldwide, Indigenous advocates say.  cbc.ca

Bird, H. (2017, June 17).  Money now available to cover Indigenous groups' travel costs to UN negotiations.  cbc.ca

Brown, Michael F.  (2017).  About/Upriver Home.  michaelfbrown.net/about

Brown, Michael F. (2017, June 17).  Beyond hoop earrings: The damaging impact of the cultural appropriation meme.  michaelfbrown.net/category/culturalappropriation

Canadian Press (2018).  Canadian Press Stylebook: Online guide for writing and editing.  thecanadianpress.com

Davis, A. A. (2018, March 23).  University of Victoria law degree a world first.  macleans.ca

Face of Native (2015, March 25).  For your information: History of Cowichan knitting.  faceofnative.ca

Fawcett, B. (2017, June 29).  Cultural Appropriation, Misappropriation and Cultural Exchange: a primer.  dooneyscafe.com

Gaudry, A. (2016, November 16).  Metis.  Canadian Encyclopedia.  canadianencyclopedia.com

Globe and Mail (2018, April 2).  Globe editorial: Ottawa pits 'traditional knowledge' against 'science,' and then walks away.  globeandmail.com

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (2017, December 4).  First Nations.  aadnc-aandc.gc.ca

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (2017, December 4).  Indigenous peoples and communities.  aadnc-aandc.gc.ca

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (2017, December 4).  Metis.  aadnc-aandc.gc.ca

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (2018, March 22).  Inuit.  aadnc-aandc.gc.ca

Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage Project (2015).  Think Before You Appropriate.  sfu.ca/ipinch

Jolly Jumper (n.d.).  History.  Retrieved June 7, 2017 from Jolly Jumper.  http://216.95.206.43/history

Joseph, B. (2016, July 20).  Indigenous Peoples Terminology: Guidelines for Usage.  Working Effective With Indigenous Peoples.  ictinc.ca/blog

Joseph, B. (2017, August 15).  Tips for Purchasing Authentic Indigenous Art.  Working Effectively With Indigenous Peoples.  ictinc.ca/blog

Lloyd, A. (2017, June 19).  It's Cultural Appropriation All the Way Down.  The Weekly Standard.  the weeklystandard.com

London Free Press (1955, May).  New Look - Old Custom.

Lutz, H. (1991).  Contemporary Challenges: Conversations With Canadian Native Authors.  Saskatoon: Fifth House.

May, J. (1958, November 6).  Necessity Mother of Invention.  London Free Press.

McColl, K. (1959, May).  Babies are meant to be near you.  Chatelaine, pp. 108-109.

Meikle, M. (1987).  Cowichan Indian Knitting.  UBC Library Open Collection.  https://open.library.ubc.ca

Ogumamanam, C. (2017, June 28).  Rethinking copyright for Indigenous creative works.  Policy Options.  policyoptions.org

Oxford Reference (2017, February 20).  Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature.  oxfordreference.com

Peterson, L. (2003, May 10).  Remembering Mom.  London Free Press, p. F3.

Peterson, L. (2006, May 27).  From party panache to practical.  London Free Press, p. F3.

Stopp, M. P. (2012, Fall).  The Coast Salish Knitters and the Cowichan Sweater: An Event of National Historical Significance.  Material Culture Review.  https://journals.lib.unb.ca

Woodrow, A. (2018, March 7).  University of Victoria offers first combined Indigenous law degree.  Canadian Lawyer Magazine.  canadianlawyermag.com

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Cultural Misappropriation, "Molasses" and HTTPS

Disclaimer: My references to the writings of other people--both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous--do not in any way imply that they share my views on this matter.  The opinions expressed here are my own, and do not necessarily represent those of my family, friends or associates.

During the mid- to late-1970s, some Indigenous women I knew at the time gave me the nickname "Molasses" because of my slow-motion style.  They can rest assured I am still as slow as molasses in January.

These women are not alone in their opinion.  Many Non-Indigenous people of my acquaintance think it is taking me far too long to finish my multi-part counterpoise.ca series on cultural misappropriation, as it relates to Indigenous people who live in Canada.  In fact, I have been working on it since January 2017.

For those who have been waiting patiently (or in some cases, impatiently), you can rest assured I am working on it regularly, and it is taking shape.

In other news, on April 8, 2018, I upgraded to HTTPS on this blog, so the url is now:

https://www.counterpoise.ca

I have also updated to HTTPS on my blog about me generally:

https://www.leithpeterson.ca

Friday, 27 May 2016

Part Three of Three: Why I Think Canadian Aboriginal Integration is Better Than Parallelism or Assimilation: More People Need to be Involved With Indigenous Policy Decision Making

Disclaimer: My references to the writings of other people--both indigenous and non-indigenous--do not in any way imply that they share my views on this matter.  The opinions expressed here are my own, and do not necessarily represent those of my family, friends or associates.

Note 1: In this post, I will primarily be focussing on First Nations people living on- and off-reserves.  For brevity's sake, I will not be covering Inuit- and Metis-related issues.  But when I include information about indigenous people generally, e.g., statistics, it sometimes incorporates Inuit and Metis.

Note 2: The nature photos, which I took during walks in my neighbourhood, have nothing to do with the content of this post.  I found working on this entry so mentally challenging, that I sometimes recharged by playing slideshows of these images.

Part Three - A       "Ordinary Canadians" Are Frequently Left Out of Decisions Regarding Aboriginal Policy

Although I do not agree with Sudbury lawyer, Peter Best, that all aboriginal rights should be eliminated, I concur with the point he made in his There is No Difference essay (2016)--available at nodifference.ca--that decisions regarding indigenous issues are not, for the most part, being made in consultation with ordinary Canadians.

Best's definition of "ordinary Canadians" is anyone who is not part of the "Indian industry."  In the industry category, he includes "Indian band elites. . .politicians, civil service elites" and many in academia, particularly those in "native studies departments."  Non-indigenous professional people who provide services to this industry are also on his list.  However, he acknowledges he is generalizing about a complex topic.

I agree with him that it is difficult to make sweeping statements regarding who makes up the industry.  This is because there are many people, who fall into the categories he lists, who are helping to improve the situation.  But, as I explained in the "Personal Journey" section of Part One, I have found there are individuals who promote the parallelism narrative, even when it does not make sense to do so, and these parallelists can often be found in the groups Best cites.

I also concur with Best that a lot of indigenous policy decision making is an "essentially private conversation amongst our courts, governments, governing classes, Indian elites and the Indian industry generally."  Ordinary Canadians are not consulted about what is going on, but they need to be because they are affected by these decisions.

For instance, Supreme Court decisions regarding indigenous rights and resource development are causing many companies to not pursue projects in contentious areas.  This has negatively impacted thousands of people, including aboriginals working in the resources industry.

(See "Part Three - F       Indigenous Rights, Resource Development and Environmental Stewardship" for an expanded discussion of the above paragraph.)

I believe most ordinary Canadians agree it is best for the country to remain unified.  I also think the majority of citizens uphold the humanist and social democratic values this nation was founded on, which include freedom of speech and the rule of law.  Of course, there are many aspects of this country's history that were detrimental to indigenous people, but this does not mean the fundamental principles are lacking in merit.  If anything, these principles, such as peace, order and good government, should be lauded.

There also has to be a greater emphasis on social democratic values such as equality and the rights of the individual, instead of the current stress on collective rights, when it comes to indigenous issues.  This is because when aboriginal lobby groups negotiate with their federal, provincial and territorial counterparts, grassroots aboriginals are sometimes left out of the conversation.

And when aboriginal lobby groups negotiate with government leaders, many non-aboriginal Canadians are left out of the conversation as well.  In fact, the last time Canadians had a say regarding indigenous policy was during the 1992 referendum following the failed Charlottetown Accord.  At that time, Canadians rejected the self-government concept, which was based on parallelism.

October shrubbery, October 11, 2015
Despite this rejection, the federal government ignored Canadians' wishes and stated, in 1995, that an "inherent right" to self-government was now government policy.  Nevertheless, both the 1980s entrenchment of aboriginal rights in the Constitution and the 1995 statement still saw indigenous governments operating within the Canadian legal framework.

The federal government's May 2016 support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) underscores their commitment to increased aboriginal autonomy.  Fortunately, a number of analysts are recommending that UNDRIP's adoption include provisions to ensure that Canadian laws and policies are still adhered to.

The federal government is also planning to do away with the Indian Act and change the focus to Section 35 of the Constitution and UNDRIP.  This could end up being OK if indigenous groups do not want to separate from Canada.  But if some groups decide they want to break away, I think the federal government should have a referendum to get Canadian feedback on this.  In my opinion, separating from Canada is unacceptable, particularly if these groups still expect to get government funding.

Conrad Black made an important point when he said that Canadians have demonstrated respect for other cultures, but are "achingly slow to defend" their own.  He also said many radical activists promote a "process of self-hate" that demands almost all aspects of our past be renounced and rebuked.

This self-hate has got to stop or it will literally destroy this country and everything it stands for.  It is perfectly acceptable to reach compromises that will contribute to both indigenous and non-indigenous well-being.  But Canadians should not forget the many sound principles this country was founded on, and if these views are challenged, they should make their opinions known.

Part Three - B       Scapegoating/Betrayal of Some Non-Aboriginals

Since 2007, I have been networking with non-aboriginals who are concerned with some aspects of the way that indigenous policy is being handled in this country.  For the most part, those of us who feel this way are not part of the decision-making apparatus of this country.  But we still want to publicly express our views on what we see is wrong with the way the federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments often respond to indigenous issues.

Earlier in our lives, we were very much involved with the aboriginal situation for one reason or another.  In some instances, this commitment extended back one or two generations in our immediate families.  As previously mentioned, my primary involvement was working in aboriginal organizations.  Others were connected with the residential schools in some way.  Still others are professional people whose employment intersected with the indigenous community.

But around the late 1980s/early 1990s, many of us felt scapegoated and/or betrayed.  Some of us spoke out initially, but later backed off, due to the harsh criticisms we received.  However, now quite a few of us are semi-retired or retired, and are advocating once again that our side of the story gets more attention.

I saw what I consider to be scapegoating occur with some non-aboriginal residents of Caledonia, Ontario.  They were in the wrong place at the wrong time when a land claims dispute ignited in 2006.  Although the situation there has been comparatively better since 2014, there are still many unresolved differences between some non-aboriginal residents and aboriginal occupiers involved with the land claims dispute.  For more information regarding my views on Caledonia, click on the "Caledonia" label in the right sidebar.

Wildflower, March 9, 2016
Those who worked at residential schools have had a particularly troubling plight.  Although there is no doubt that abuses happened at some schools, this was not the case with them all.  There were many staff members, including aboriginal ones, who did the best they could under the circumstances.  And up until the early 1990s, it was quite common for numerous residential school attendees to praise the support they got at the schools.  But since then, it has become politically incorrect for most attendees to do so.  Consequently, since the late 1980s, most people who worked at the schools have been reticent about even acknowledging their role.

I suspect why some of the scapegoating/betrayals occurred in the late 1980s/early 1990s, was because aboriginal rights were entrenched in the Constitution in the early 1980s.  In my opinion, this caused some aboriginals and their supporters to develop too much of a cavalier attitude towards anyone whose lifestyle or views did not advance their "cause."  This was the case even if the falsely accused had tried to do their best to support aboriginals in the past.  In other words, some people became expendable for political reasons.

But I contend that, if indigenous leaders want to ensure justice really happens, they should acknowledge those who helped them along the way, rather than regularly throwing them under the bus.

Part Three - C       "Hemispatial Neglect" = One-Sided Analysis of Aboriginal Issues

There has to be more attention given to the entire story, rather than the current emphasis on blaming everything on colonization and the residential schools.  As National Post columnist, Barbara Kay, noted, some radical leftists (she called them "blind progressives"), particularly on Western campuses, frequently oppose any Western icons, "especially if they are dead white males of European provenance."  Kay provided the example of Wilfrid Laurier University's February 2016 decision to abandon a privately funded Canadian prime ministers statue project.  Their pronouncement was based on opposition from some people on campus, who thought the project would offend indigenous and other groups.

Kay said that those opposed showed signs of having a neurological condition called "hemispatial neglect."  This condition made them think that any argument from what they perceived as the "right" should be suppressed.

But, as Naomi Lakritz of the Calgary Herald pointed out, former prime minister, Paul Martin, has championed aboriginal causes since his retirement.  He would have been one of the former prime ministers included.  This is just one of many arguments for why disapproval of the project lacked objectivity.

Because radical leftists often judge the past by today's standards, their analysis of historical events should be challenged.  Yet their "hemispatial neglect" dominates most of the discussions about aboriginal issues.  It frequently contends that all indigenous people suffered cultural genocide.  In other words, it takes a very complex situation and reduces it to collectivist rhetoric.

Part Three - D       Need for More Administrative Fairness

Am grateful to a colleague who made me aware of administrative fairness guidelines, specifically the ones assembled by the Alberta Ombudsman.  I suspect many "ordinary Canadians" would agree that indigenous policy does not always adhere to these guidelines.

For instance, Guideline #6 is "Reasonable Apprehension of Bias."  This means that the process must demonstrate the "impartiality and independence" of the decision maker.  My view, and that of others, is that some of the policy makers in this area have demonstrated a distinct bias towards the parallelism position, at the expense of other options.

One example of this is the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP), which was established in August 1991, and which tabled its final report in 1996.  The original RCAP composition was four aboriginal and three non-aboriginal commissioners, one of whom was Allan Blakeney, the former NDP premier of Saskatchewan.  Jeffrey Simpson described Blakeney as the only non-aboriginal who had "hands-on experience" with the topic, "not as some abstract idea or legal theory."  But in April 1993, Blakeney resigned because he felt the other commissioners were "dreaming up unworkable non-solutions."

Mallard Duck, May 9, 2016
The RCAP report is frequently held up by some aboriginal spokespeople as the "blueprint" for how to "fix" the "relationship."  In a December 8, 2015 CBC Radio/Unreserved interview, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) Chair, Murray Sinclair, acknowledged that quite a few of the "calls to action" were "echoed" in other reports, such as RCAP.  I think this underscores why the TRC executive summary, which was released in June 2015, often falls into the same rut as the RCAP report.  This is because the RCAP recommendations, which revolved around parallelism, did not always apply to the 42 per cent of aboriginals who lived off-reserve 20 years ago.

Now, 20 years later, the number of aboriginals living off-reserve has increased to 56 per cent (although some indigenous spokespeople say it is more like 70 per cent).  Since parallelism primarily addresses the reserve situation, this means it should not be trumpeted as a blanket solution to native woes.

Part Three - E        Governance and Accountability on Reserves

Many aboriginal leaders contend that on-reserve poverty is the result of misguided government policies.  This is certainly the case in quite a few instances.  But there are just too many reports of mismanagement, resulting from poor governance, for it to be blamed solely on non-aboriginals.  John Reilly said in Bad Judgment he had been told by a source he considered reliable that "aboriginal policing had evidence of millions of dollars going into offshore accounts."

In Dances With Dependency, Calvin Helin lamented "Aboriginals' unhealthy focus on the federal government," which had contributed to a deeply engrained "'culture of expectancy.'"

Phyllis Sutherland is a Peguis Band member who supports better accountability on reserves.  In 2012, she said that attempts to get financial information from her band leadership were ignored, and members were "subjected to intimidation tactics, such as fearmongering, public attacks and attempts to destroy a person's credibility."

Reilly's, Helin's and Sutherland's accounts are just a few of the ones I have read that address lack of accountability in some aboriginal governance systems.  Despite many indigenous leaders' protests to the contrary, there does seem to be a pattern here that I do not think can be solely blamed on colonization and the residential schools.

As mentioned earlier in Part Three, Peter Best thinks that "ordinary Canadians" need to participate more in indigenous policy decision making.  I agree with him that these ordinary Canadians are often grassroots aboriginals who are negatively impacted by poor reserve governance.

Autumn tress and shrubs, October 16, 2015
Part Three - F       Indigenous Rights, Resource Development and Environmental Stewardship

I am all for sustainable resource development that will preserve the environment, but I think some "green initiatives" are being implemented too hastily, without enough concern for the burden they are placing on, not only the economy, but the individual ratepayer.

I have been astounded by the steady increases in my Ontario hydro bills over the past few years, and am consequently not surprised the province has reportedly the highest rate on the continent.  It concerns me that one of the main reasons for these increases is the Ontario government's environmental stewardship program.

I contend that some environmentalists are going overboard in their push to get Canadians off fossil fuels.  Considerable work has been done and is being done to make fossil fuel extraction, transport and manufacture safer and more environmentally sound.  It would be better to slow down many of the green programs, so they are more economically sustainable, rather than implementing them too fast, as is happening in Ontario.

Part Three - G       Conclusion

I agree with Jeffrey Simpson that parallelism is a "re-creation of a long-ago past in modern idiom," which has not met with much success.  I do not believe it is entirely the fault of the non-aboriginal community that this has occurred.

In my "Caledonia and Six Nations. . ." post, May 21, 2012, I observed that "many of the best recommendations for improving the aboriginal situation originate with natives who recognize that changing things for the better is a two-way street.  They acknowledge that all the blame cannot be placed on non-natives' shoulders."

The "two-way street" individuals are helping to make Canada stronger, each in their own unique way.  Some of these talented people may not see themselves as integrationists, or, indeed, want to be classified that way.  But their multi-faceted, creative approaches to moving the dialogue forward are a huge improvement over the parallelist spin that frequently shuts down constructive discussion.

Bibliography

Alberta Ombudsman (2016).  Administrative Fairness Guidelines.  ombudsman.ab.ca

Bains, R. (2015, December 28).  First Nations chiefs rewarded for lack of transparency.  Toronto Sun: torontosun.com

Best, P. (2016).  There is No Difference.  nodifference.ca

Black, C. (2016, March 16).  Conrad Black: Canada admirably respects other cultures, but we are achingly slow to defend our own.  National Post: nationalpost.com

Cairns, A. C. (2000).  Citizens Plus.  Vancouver: UBC Press.

CBC Radio/Unreserved (2015, December 6).  Will truth bring reconciliation? Justice Murray Sinclair says not without education.  cbc.ca/abo/unreserved

Coates, K., & Favel, B (2016, May 19).  Embrace of UNDRIP can bring aboriginal Canada and Ottawa closer together.  Macdonald-Laurier Institute: macdonaldlaurier.ca

Cuthand, D. (2016, May 16).  UN Declaration helps forge new relationship.  London Free Press: lfpress.com

Daro, I. N. (2016, March 26).  Ontario cuts hydro rates for low-income residents, but most households will pay about $137 more per year.  National Post: nationalpost.com

Favel, B., & Coates, K. S. (2016, May).  Understanding UNDRIP.  Macdonald-Laurier Institute: macdonaldlaurier.ca

Gibson, G. (2009).  A New Look at Canadian Indian Policy.  Fraser Institute.

Helin, C. (2006).  Dances With Dependency.  Vancouver: Orca Spirit.

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (2013, August 15).  Fact Sheet: 2011 National Household Survey: Aboriginal Demographics, Educational Attainment and Labour Market Outcomes.  aandc-aadnc.gc.ca

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (2013, October 21).  First Nations in Canada.  aandc-aadnc.gc.ca

Isaak, A. (2015, October 7).  Forcing Indigenous Issues to the Federal Forefront.  The Manitoban: themanitoban.com

Kay, B. (2016, March 15).  Barbara Kay: Only blind progressives would think naming a scholarship after Mao is a good idea.  National Post: nationalpost.com

Lakritz, N. (2015, October 24).  Lakritz: Statues the latest victims of political correctness.  Calgary Herald: calgaryherald.com

Libin, K. (2016, May 16).  Kevin Libin: Ontario's big green assisted suicide plan.  National Post: nationalpost.com

MacKay, T. (2016, January 27).  Todd MacKey: All politicians must disclose financial information - including First Nations.  National Post: nationalpost.com

Murphy, R. (2016, May 20).  Leap comes to Ontario with Wynne's new climate change plan.  National Post: nationalpost.com

Reilly, J. (2014).  Bad Judgment.  Alberta: Rocky Mountain Books.

Simpson, J. (2015, April 8).  Jeffrey Simpson on Indian Policy: Progress for Aboriginal Peoples Still Haunted by the Past.  Macdonald-Laurier Institute: macdonaldlaurier.ca

Steele, D. (2016).  CAP to IPAC: What's in a name?  Windspeaker: ammsa.com

Travato, F., Abada, T., & Price, J.A. (2015 March 4).  Urban migration of Aboriginal Peoples.  Canadian Encyclopedia: canadianencyclopedia.ca

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Part Two of Three: Why I Think Canadian Aboriginal Integration is Better Than Parallelism or Assimilation - Integration is Already Happening in Many Places

Disclaimer: My references to the writings of other people--both indigenous and non-indigenous--do not in any way imply that they share my views on this matter.  The opinions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my family, friends or associates.

Note One:  In this post, I will primarily be focussing on First Nations people living on- and off-reserves.  For brevity's sake, I will not be covering Inuit- and Metis-related issues.  But when I include information about indigenous people generally, e.g., statistics, it sometimes incorporates Inuit and Metis.

Note Two:  The nature photos, which I took during walks in my neighbourhood, have nothing to do with the contents of this post.  I found working on this entry so mentally challenging that I sometimes recharged by playing slideshows of these images.

Part Two - A       Integration is Already Happening in Many Places - Overview

Many indigenous people have had no trouble maintaining their identity, while at the same time participating in Canadian society.  This involvement has included working in mainstream institutions in the cities and intermarrying with non-aboriginals.  So, despite what many parallelists would have the public believe, integration is already happening in many places.

Part Two - B       Problems Rooted in Society as a Whole

One of the common reasons cited by the parallelists as to why they do not want to join the mainstream is because they find it profoundly messed up.  And, quite frankly, they have a point.  But, as I have said elsewhere on this blog, traditional indigenous societies were not perfect either.  Consequently, the parallelists should not claim that replacing one society's values with another's is going to resolve all dysfunction.  I think a more effective approach would be to examine what it is about the mainstream that is counterproductive, and then work to change it for the better.

As I explained in my February 11, 2014 counterpoise.ca review of Thomas King's The Inconvenient Indian (2012), "I believe in maintaining a unifying Canadian culture that respects the rights of the individual and upholds the rule of law."  But I do think there is some validity to King's contention that North Americans need to find a way to overcome their "irrational addiction to profit."

Sun Tree, October 11, 2015
Calvin Helin also expressed concerns about this irrational addiction to profit in his Dances With Spirits (2014).  My February 10, 2015 review of his book can be found elsewhere on this blog, so I will not elaborate here.  But, to summarize, he shows how we can transform our society into a more productive one by "finding common ground."  I think Helin's approach is more constructive than Thomas King's because Helin explains how we can work together to resolve global issues, rather than playing the "us and them" game that King frequently employs.

As I have explained in other posts on this blog, I have personally witnessed aboriginals being treated in an exploitative and demeaning manner.  I know that a lot of this behaviour has to do with preconceived and erroneous attitudes that some non-aboriginals have.  But I do not think the answer to dealing with prejudicial attitudes is to play the victim card.  More is accomplished when indigenous people educate other races as to how and why these attitudes have occurred, so that they are better informed, rather than blaming everything on colonization.

Part Two - C       More Than Half of Indigenous People Live in Urban Areas

Statistics Canada's 2011 National Household Survey found that 56 per cent of aboriginals resided in urban areas.  And, according to the 2011 Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study (UAPS), 71 per cent considered the city "home," and 65 per cent really liked living there.  In addition, the UAPS found that city-dwelling aboriginals did not feel well-represented by any aboriginal or mainstream organization.  Therefore, it is a misnomer for some indigenous spokespeople to give the impression that their demographic is primarily based on reserves.

Moreover, aboriginals generally do better educationally when they live in the city.  In January 2016, the C.D. Howe Institute released a study that found only four in 10 on-reserve First Nations youth, in the 20 to 24 age range, had completed high school, compared to seven out of 10 off-reserve.  By comparison, nine out of 10 non-aboriginals had done so.

Many aboriginal leaders would argue that the education gap between on-reserve and off-reserve is because of lack of funding for reserve schools, but the study authors, Anderson and Richards, said that was not the only reason.  Although the authors agreed that funding had to be improved due to the higher cost of delivering services on-reserve, they contend that other factors also had to be addressed.

Thistles, September 20, 2015
Maclean's columnist, Scott Gilmore, got criticized by some indigenous groups and their supporters when he said reserve isolation frequently contributed to dysfunction.  Although he did not advocate the elimination of reserves, he recommended that more funding be allocated to those who choose to leave.  He pointed to Statistics Canada data that showed aboriginal people frequently did better if they relocated.

However, another Statistics Canada study found that 62 per cent of non-aboriginals were in good health, compared to 49 per cent of urban aboriginals.  Other variables such as housing and mental health also showed that non-aboriginals fared better.

Outcomes in the urban environment clearly need improvement, but the fact remains that city-dwelling indigenous people often do better overall.  Regardless of what the statistics tell us, it is up to individual aboriginals to decide what is best for them.

Part Two - D       Aboriginals Who Advocate Self-Sufficiency Get Relatively Little Media Attention

There are indigenous people who have made practical recommendations as to how their people can become more self-sufficient.  Although considerable progress has been made on some reserves, there is still a lot more that needs to be done.

My view is that progress has mainly been stymied by the relentless factionalism and feuding among aboriginal groups.  Prior to European contact, many tribes were in constant conflict with each other.  They raided each other's villages and turned captives into slaves.  Sometimes one tribe completely annihilated another.  But it is politically incorrect to mention this now, even though there is indisputable proof that it happened.  Now aboriginal spokespeople often blame the government for any misfortune they encounter.  But if some aboriginal leaders spent more time examining what traditionally worked and what did not, they would probably achieve more positive results.

Of course, government policy has substantially contributed to the dysfunction.  But even since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took office in October 2015, with his push to improve the aboriginal situation, the feuding and factionalism continues.

This political bickering also contributes to less one-on-one with successful aboriginals.  Chief Clarence Louie of the Osoyoos Band in British Columbia, has been a tireless advocate of economic development and the work ethic.  Because his prosperous reserve has more work than band members, it employs aboriginals from 30 different First Nations in other parts of the country.  But Louie prefers to stick with the business side of his leadership because he said indigenous politics is rife with "jealousy, hatred and bitterness."

Although Louie has got some media attention, the lion's share of it still goes to the Assembly of First Nations (AFN).  It is good that AFN National Chief, Perry Bellegarde, sometimes speaks about the importance of sustainable economic development.  But unfortunately, Bellegarde's viewpoint is not always shared by some of the chiefs, who are opposed to most types of development.  It is therefore not surprising that Chief Louie rarely attends AFN functions because he thinks the chiefs do not focus enough on economic development.

I am not saying that Chief Louie is promoting integration, but what I am saying is that he has figured out ways to make the mainstream system work in tandem with his reserve.  He realized economic development had to come before social and cultural programs, and now all three elements are working well in his community.  

Squirrel, October 11, 2015
Part Two - E       Intermarriage

The high rate of intermarriage (a.k.a. "marrying out" or out marriage) between aboriginals and non-aboriginals is another factor that needs to be taken into consideration regarding integration.  In his book, Citizens Plus, Alan Cairns cited Clatsworthy and Smith's 1992 report in which they estimated that 34 per cent of Status Indians intermarried.  For off-reserve Status, they calculated 65 per cent.  I agree with Cairns's conclusion that the high rate of intermarriage has led to many shared values.

It was difficult for me to find statistics on intermarriage rates after 1992.  But around 2008, Maclean's was able to access an unpublished Indian Affairs document entitled "Registered Indian Population Projections for Canada and Regions, 2004-2029," which found that the rates had increased.  Between 1985 and 2004, on-reserve registered Indians had an out marriage rate of 35 per cent, and 70 per cent of registered off-reserve had non-status partners.

Despite my inability to find information on current intermarriage rates, it is nevertheless true that a sizeable percentage of aboriginal leaders and role models have spouses who are non-aboriginal and/or are the offspring of an interracial couple.  For instance, Jody Wilson-Raybould and Carey Price are married to non-aboriginals.  Wab Kinew and Wilson-Raybould have non-indigenous mothers.  Carey Price's father is not indigenous.

Part Two - F       Use of Mainstream Services a Reality

Although some aboriginals who follow the parallelism approach believe that only a return to their traditional ways is the route to go, I question how easily they could accomplish this.

My favourite example can be found in a report on a gathering of aboriginal Christians, which took place around 2006.  Although those in attendance agreed it was important to recognize the positive aspects of indigenous culture, some of them complained this could be overemphasized.  One of the unidentified participants said an "Elder" had told him that everything to do with "European" influence should be done away with.  However, the attendee countered he would not want to give up the toilet.  As I explained in the "Personal Journey" section of Part One, I had to use a "honey bucket" when I lived in Yellowknife's Old Town in the mid-1970s.  You can rest assured I share the participant's view that I would not want to give up the toilet either.

Part Two - G       Residential Schools Helped Many Aboriginals to Integrate Better Into Canadian Society

Up until the 1990s, media reporting on the residential schools topic was, in my opinion, much more balanced than it is now.  Journalists would interview aboriginals with positive, negative or mixed experiences and report on all three.  But now media coverage tends to focus only on the negative.

Dene columnist, Cece Hodgson-McCauley, is one of the few residential school attendees who addresses both the positive and the negative aspects.  In a number of her columns for News/North, she has explained the ways her 10 years at the "convent" in Fort Providence benefited her, e.g., she learned knitting, beading, quill work, cooking and baking.  She recalled "one nun who was very strict" and another "who made us pray too much."  She said during her sister, Muriel Foers's, time at the school, there were problems when the nuns put an older aboriginal girl in charge.

Autumn Trees, October 8, 2015
In her December 21, 2015 column, Hodgson-McCauley complained about the "one-sided" nature of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada report, and said the "real truth" had to "come out."  She said the elders "are afraid to speak up and tell the truth," but that the "truth will come out because people are not dumb."

In her May 16, 2016 column, she noted that more people wanted to hear about the good side of the residential schools because there are "two sides to every story."  She said she had been getting calls from people "investigating" the good side.

The people who have been investigating the good side have amassed a lot of primary and secondary source material.  This material proves the schools frequently helped some attendees to become successful community leaders.  They learned self-discipline and how to communicate better with non-aboriginals.  They often retained their language and culture.  In other words, the residential schools helped some of them to integrate into Canadian society.

Bibliography

Adams, M. & Gosnell-Myers, G. (2013, January 22).  Don't forget Canada's urban aboriginals.  They're not just passing through.  Globe and Mail: globeandmail.com

Akin, D. (2015, June 17).  Top chief says focus on job creation.  Toronto Sun: torontosun.com

C.D. Howe Institute (2016, January 28).  Reform Agenda Needed for Failing First Nations Schools.  C.D. Howe Institute: cdhowe.org

Cairns, A.C. (2000).  Citizens Plus: Aboriginal People and the Canadian State.  Vancouver: UBC Press.

Donnelly, P. (1998, January 26).  Scapegoating the Indian residential schools.  Alberta Report.  Ebsco.

Friesen, J. (2010, April 6).  Canada's urban aboriginals feel politically unrepresented, poll finds.  Globe and Mail: globeandmail.com

Geddes, J. (2008, July 7).  Who are you calling Indian?  Maclean's.  Canadian Reference Centre.

Gignac, J. (2016, April 12).  Study highlights health challenges faced by urban First Nations people.  Globe and Mail: globeandmail.com

Gilmore, S. (2016, February 9).  Scott Gilmore: the hard truth about remote communities.  Maclean's: macleans.ca

Helin, H. (2014).  Dances With Spirits: Ancient Wisdom for a Modern World.  Los Angeles: Primer Digital.

Hodgson-McCauley, C. (2016, May 16).  Lawyers pushed bad side of residential schools.  Northern News Services: nnsl.com

Hodgson-McCauley, C. (2015, December 21).  Make Daryl Dolynny NWT ombudsman!  Northern News Services: nnsl.com

Hodgson-McCauley, C. (2012, December 3).  Positive stories from residential school.  Northern News Services: nnsl.com

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (2013, October 21).  First Nations in Canada.  Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada: aadnc-aandc.gc.ca

King, T. (2012).  The Inconvenient Indian.  Doubleday Canada.

Morin, B. (2014, August 19).  Chief Clarence Louie: The key to the future is building a strong economy.  Alberta Native News: albertanativenews.com

Public Safety Canada (2006).  A Matter of Faith: a Gathering of Aboriginal Canadians.  Public Safety Canada: publicsafety.gc.ca

Simpson, J. (2016, February 12).  It takes more than money to close the education gap.  Globe and Mail: globeandmail.com

Statistics Canada (2008, January 15).  Aboriginal Peoples in Canada in 2006: Inuit, Metis and First Nations, 2006 Census.  Statistics Canada: statscan.ca

Monday, 23 May 2016

Part One of Three: Why I Think Canadian Aboriginal Integration is Better Than Parallelism or Assimilation - Overview

Disclaimer: My references to the writings of other people--both indigenous and non-indigenous--do not in any way imply that they share my views on this matter.  The opinions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my family, friends or associates.

Note One:  In this post, I will primarily be focussing on First Nations people living on- and off-reserves.  For brevity's sake, I will not be covering Inuit- and Metis-related issues.  But when I include information about indigenous people generally, e.g., statistics, it sometimes incorporates Inuit and Metis.

Note Two:  The nature photos, which I took during walks in my neighbourhood, have nothing to do with the contents of this post.  I found working on this entry so mentally challenging that I sometimes recharged by playing slideshows of these images.

Part One - A         Introduction

I realize there are a number of interpretations of aboriginal integration, so I am clarifying at the outset that my recommended version is not the type that advocates assimilation.  As I explained in my "Canadian Aboriginal Integration is Better Than Assimilation or Parallelism" post, August 7, 2011, I am in favour of aboriginals maintaining their rights, but also their Canadian citizenship.  However, I believe that any rights maintained should not harm aboriginals or non-aboriginals.  In other words, I recommend a selective retention of rights.  Will explain more about what I mean by "selective retention" in the "Integration" section of Part One.

I also think that any rights upheld should not erode Canadian sovereignty.  Will have more to say about this in the "Ordinary Canadians" section of Part Three.

Am dividing up this topic into three separate counterpoise.ca posts as follows:

• Part One of Three - Why I Think Canadian Aboriginal Integration is Better Than Parallelism or Assimilation - Overview

• Part Two of Three - Why I Think Canadian Aboriginal Integration is Better Than Parallelism or Assimilation - Integration is Already Happening in Many Places

• Part Three of Three - Why I Think Canadian Aboriginal Integration is Better Than Parallelism or Assimilation - More People Need to be Involved With Indigenous Policy Decision Making

Part One - B        Three Main Policy Viewpoints - My Interpretation

In a number of other posts on this blog, I said I think Canadian aboriginal integration is better than parallelism or assimilation.  I agree with a reader of my blog that I need to elaborate on what I mean by this.

Below are my interpretations of the three main policy viewpoints.

Part One - B.1       Parallelism

The Liberal government of Pierre Elliot Trudeau tried to implement the 1969 White Paper, which advocated assimilation, but this concept was rejected by many of the country's aboriginal leaders.  Consequently, the White Paper was shelved.  For further information on the events before, during and after the White Paper, see my "Canadian Aboriginal Integration is Better Than Assimilation or Parallelism Post," August 7, 2011.

Alan Cairns was the first to use the term parallelism, which he described as "Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities travelling side-by-side coexisting but not getting in each other's way."  But Cairns is not a proponent of the term that he coined.  Parallelism is sometimes portrayed as a two-row wampum, that is, aboriginal and non-aboriginal collectives following separate cultural paths.  The preservation of indigenous knowledge is one of the principal self-determining aims of the aboriginal route.

Parallelism is also depicted as either "nation-to-nation" constitutionalism or a third order of government.  The 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) advocated parallelism, as did the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada final report executive summary.

Aboriginal leaders frequently talk about sovereignty in connection with their wish for "nation-to-nation" relations with Canada, the provinces and territories, but it is sometimes not clear what they mean by these terms.  Are they talking about nation as in operating as a self-sufficient entity within the Canadian federation, or as in operating outside of it?  Do they mean sovereignty as in good governance, or as in separate "nations" from Canada?

As I explained in my counterpoise.ca review of Cherokee/Greek Thomas King's The Inconvenient Indian, February 11, 2014, "sovereignty has various interpretations amongst aboriginal groups."  I have no problem with aboriginal communities being directly involved with decisions that affect them, but I do not agree with these communities operating outside of the federal, provincial and territorial framework.

Creek from bridge, May 22, 2015
Part One - B.2       Integration

Generally speaking, integration proponents believe it is best for aboriginals to maintain their Canadian citizenship, and to be actively engaged in national discourse.  Although many integrationists want to see aboriginal culture preserved, they recognize that sometimes there has to be a partnership or overlap with mainstream Canadian federal, provincial and/or territorial jurisdictions.

Frances Widdowson and Albert Howard summarize integrationism as "inclusion, universality and progress," and contend there are two main versions:  liberalism and political economy.  They see the liberalism branch as valuing individualism over collectivism.  Political economists believe that goods and services should be available to all equally, not just to those with tribal affiliations.

Some analysts believe that assimilation is an extension of the integrationist position, but I see it as distinct.  This is because some integrationists think aboriginals have rights over and above other Canadians, such as those enshrined in the Constitution.  My view is what separates integrationists from assimilationists is the special rights issue.  So I think assimilation needs to be a separate category.

I am of the view that aboriginals should maintain their Constitutional rights, but there needs to be a review of cultural practices that may harm aboriginals or non-aboriginals.  If cultural practices are detrimental to either race, then natives should not be able to argue that they have a right to practice for traditional reasons.  Two examples of this are bad medicine and the historically negative treatment of women by some tribes.  So that is what I mean by selective retention of rights.

In addition, I do not think that indigenous rights should infringe on Canadian constitutional sovereignty.  That is why I was concerned with what Gordon Gibson had to say in his analysis of Section 25 of the Charter.  He said "if parts of the Charter offend traditional aboriginal practices, those parts of the Charter are not enforceable as against Indian governments."  This section needs to be revised to make it clearer that any practices that might infringe on Canadian sovereignty cannot be upheld as constitutionally protected.

Duck spreading wings, October 11, 2015

Part One - B.3       Assimilation

The 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples Report described assimilation as colonial and Canadian authorities asserting that "European ideas about progress and development were self-evidently correct," and stated that these ideas should not be imposed on aboriginals.

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada labelled the 1820-1927 era as "Legislated Assimilation" and 1914-1982 one as "New Perspectives."  Even though there were quite a few improvements to aboriginal policy during the latter period, it still included the 1969 White Paper, which many aboriginal leaders considered assimilationist.  As previously mentioned, the White Paper was shelved.

It is rarely noted that a third of aboriginals do not identify themselves as such in the federal census.  But this needs to be factored into any discussion on aboriginal policy.  Yes, it is true that some of these people likely assimilated because of colonial polices, but others felt they were better off joining the mainstream.

In Bad Judgment, John Reilly said that his friend, Austin Tootoosis, a Cree healer, described five levels to assimilation.  The first is when aboriginals follow their traditional ways, and are usually in good shape psychologically.  Level five is completely assimilated individuals who are usually well mentally.  It is levels two through four where difficulties can occur because people have "no real identity or sense of direction."

I agree with Tootoosis that problems can occur as he described.  But there are many different outcomes that can result in levels two through four, and some of them may be favourable.  For instance, integration can fall into this range.

Part One - C        Why My Personal Journey Has Led Me to Conclude That Integration is the Best Option

As I have explained in other posts on this blog, my parents got involved with indigenous issues when I was six, so I grew up with this matter constantly around me.  My work in aboriginal organizations, in Southern and Northern Ontario and the Northwest Territories, primarily during the 1975 to 1987 period, has given me a perspective that a lot of people do not share.

My views on this issue have been influenced by four factors.  The first is that I felt pressured to carry on my mother's aboriginal involvement after she passed away in 1976.  The time period before and after her passing was when some indigenous groups and their "native support" partners were establishing a national presence, e.g., voicing opposition to the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline, due to unsettled land claims.  Many of the people my mother had aligned herself with naturally hoped I would carry on where she left off.

But I had numerous concerns about this.  In fact, these misgivings were so strong that I told a native support representative that my mother was a "hard act to follow."  When I realized that my apprehensions were mostly falling on deaf ears, I tried to mask my self-doubts with an outward "crusader zeal."  But this crusader mask only made things worse in the long run.

The second factor was that it was the 1970s, when attitudes were different than they are now.  I thought it was better for me to go with the flow, rather than challenge other people's agenda setting for me.  I realize now that, in the eyes of some people involved with the "cause," taking this on was a lifetime commitment, but I did not see it that way.

The third is that my personality is totally unsuited to working in the indigenous rights field.  I have always been a very opinionated person, and this trait alone increased the odds of my having difficulties.  In addition, I have very strong convictions, which frequently put me at loggerheads with some equally strong-willed indigenous people.

Fourth: despite the fact that I had more than a decade of background with aboriginal issues before I started working in the organizations, I now realize it would have been better if I had known more about the historical aspects of the indigenous situation beforehand.  If I had known this, it would have been easier for me to comprehend all that I went through.  This is why I agree that indigenous history should be included in the K-12 curriculum.  But this information needs to be taught in a balanced manner, presenting all sides, not the all-too-common "aboriginals are always right and non-aboriginals are always wrong" narrative.

Nevertheless, I do not want to give the impression my experiences were entirely negative.  I have lots of happy memories, such as attending drum dances and stage plays.  I also know that many of my late parents' interactions were uplifting for them.

Autumn splendour October 8, 2015

One of the highlights of my work in this area was travelling to remote communities in the Northwest Territories and Northern Ontario, e.g., to provide advice and assistance on band library development.  Because airplanes usually only fly in and out of these places once or twice a week, I sometimes stayed for a few days, either in lodges set aside for visitors, or in tents, or in the homes of band librarians who requested my visit.  Will never forget the spectacular scenery I saw from bush plane windows.  However, I also had some more harrowing adventures, such as a helicopter ride through a blizzard, and a water taxi trip across a turbulent bay.

In addition, I know what it is like to live with few amenities.  When my ex-partner and I were in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, during the 1975-1976 period, we lived in a tent on Long Lake Beach, a few kilometres outside of the city limits.  He did not want to pay for a campsite, so we were up on the rocks.  Then for about ten months, we lived in a house in Yellowknife's Old Town with no running water, no plumbing, and, for the first three months or so, only plastic covering the windows.  Have not forgotten the hassles of using a "honey bucket" for a toilet, and hauling in oil from the road to heat the furnace.  Because water was poured into a barrel inside our front door once a week at varying times, we could not lock the door.  I really hated having to boil water on the stove to have a sponge bath.

I also realize that reserve water problems are not limited to Canada's north.  After taking a shower at one reserve house south of the 60th parallel, I was covered with a rash for quite a few days.

The most profound aspect of my involvement was that a Slavey (Dene) woman contributed substantially to saving my life in 1972.  I was suffering from a severe infection that a Toronto doctor claimed was all in my mind.  As a result, I regularly popped 292s, and became more and more frail.  I was staying with this Slavey woman in Yellowknife, and was supposed to board a plane to the remote community of Fort Simpson.  When the taxi driver came to take me to the airport, she took the suitcase out of my hand and gave it to the driver.  She said "you're not taking her anywhere but the hospital."  I spent three weeks in Yellowknife hospital and almost died.  In the early 1980s, I learned this woman had passed away under tragic circumstances.

So, by the mid-1980s, I had learned first-hand (albeit temporarily) how difficult and challenging life can be for indigenous people.  But the memories that have been permanently etched in my psyche are those that involve indigenous people reaching out across the racial divide, like the selfless act of the Slavey (Dene) woman in 1972.  The memories I would often rather forget were the frequent wranglings over what made us different from each other.

During my years with the organizations, I frequently advocated for separate systems for aboriginal people  But even at that time, I harboured inner doubts about this route.  These fears were heightened after aboriginal rights were enshrined in the Constitution in the 1980s.  From the mid-1980s onwards, I became increasingly disillusioned with the "cause," and I think that constitutional entrenchment played a role in this.  It seemed to give some of my aboriginal associates the view that they were racially superior to me.

What also contributed to my angst was that the residential schools issue became more and more the focus of scrutiny from the mid-1980s onwards.  I am very much aware of the damage done to many former students by the schools because I worked with quite a few "survivors."  But I also found that it occasionally became an excuse for questionable behaviour.  For instance, one "survivor," who I had known since the mid-1960s, viciously betrayed me in the late 1980s.  When I confronted her about this, she blamed her behaviour on her time at a residential school.  But I think her main motivation was that she was angry with me over a political difference of opinion, and consequently spread the falsehood to get revenge.

During the 1976 to 1982 period, I was employed by, or a volunteer for, a number of what at the time were referred to as "native support" programs.  This sometimes involved arranging for aboriginal leaders from the north to speak to groups in the south.  Frequently the churches initiated and funded these projects.  For instance, there was an inter-church group called Project North (Anglican, Lutheran, Mennonite, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and United Church) that lobbied in support of land claims.  In fact, Project North is mentioned in Volume 1 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada final report as a "concrete expression" of the churches demonstrating cooperation and involvement on aboriginal issues.

That is why it bothers me so much when many residential school "survivors" make it sound like the churches were always their adversaries, when the truth is the churches were sometimes the ones that lobbied the hardest for aboriginal rights to be preserved.  For further information on my views about the residential school controversy, see my September 7 and November 6, 2015 posts elsewhere on this blog.

As mentioned earlier, I harboured doubts about the "separate systems" approach to dealing with aboriginal issues.  But I did not realize the extent to which national indigenous groups were lobbying to ensure this concept became enshrined in federal government policy.

One of the most prominent examples of this "separate systems" advocacy was the 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) Report.  I did not really analyze this report until the early 2000s.  But I realize, now that I have, its overemphasis on parallelism, and under-emphasis on the interconnectedness between aboriginal and non-aboriginal societies, was likely one of the main driving forces behind my increased disillusionment.

Tsimshian author Calvin Helin's Dances With Dependency (2006) helped me to come to grips with another aspect of my discouragement: that many aboriginal communities were overly dependent on government assistance, and that this was negatively impacting community cohesiveness.  For more information about Helin's book, and other books by him that had an impact on me, see my February 10, 2015 post.

My reading of Australian anthropologist and linguist, Peter Sutton's, The Politics of Suffering (2011) further cemented my view that some aspects of aboriginal traditions, such as bad medicine, and the abuse of women by some tribes, were best forgotten.  See the "Peter Sutton" label in the right sidebar for more information on this.

I realize there were and are many positive developments that have resulted from indigenous people asserting their rights, and exposing the harm done by many aspects of the residential schools.  But I feel the attention has swung too far from personal responsibility to identity politics.

Fortunately, there are indigenous people who share a lot of my concerns, and who I keep in touch with.  I realize the risks they take are often far greater than mine, because there is so much pressure on them to "toe the party line."  But they speak out anyway--kudos to them.

Robin, March 16, 2016

Part One - D       Too Much Emphasis Being Placed on the Parallelism Viewpoint

My contention is that all levels of government--federal, provincial, territorial and municipal--frequently place too much emphasis on communicating with the three main indigenous organizations, that is, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the Metis National Council (MNC) and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK).  This top-level communication means that the focus tends to be on the parallelist viewpoint, particularly in the case of the AFN and the MNC.  This post will be concentrating on the AFN's version of parallelism, e.g., when AFN spokespeople talk about "nation-to-nation" dialogue.  My overall point is that some on-reserve and urban aboriginals may not agree with this viewpoint.

In my September 5, 2011 post entitled "Aboriginal Issues During the 'Culpability Era,'" I explained that only the chiefs elect the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN).  This is the equivalent of the mayors of cities choosing the prime minister.  So it should not be assumed that all reserve residents support what the national chief is doing.

Differences of opinion can also occur regarding on-reserve governance.  For instance, some reserve residents have brought public attention to band mismanagement, and have frequently been severely reprimanded for doing so.  But as Ojibway writer, Richard Wagamese, rightly pointed out, "there is no colonialism inherent in accountability. . .and there is no besmirching a people's integrity by asking their leadership for honesty."

Another factor to bear in mind is that the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) only represents those First Nations living on-reserve.  Yet more than half of aboriginals live in urban areas.  Moreover, these city-dwellers may not be as keen on parallelism as their reserve counterparts.  The 2010 Urban Aboriginal Peoples Survey (UAPS), found that seven out of 10 were comfortable with their Canadian citizenship.  Although these nationalists may not see themselves as integrationists, that may be essentially what they are doing, if they agree with Canada's rights and responsibilities as citizens.

And, as previously mentioned, a third of aboriginals do not self-identify as such in the federal census.  So they have chosen the assimilation route.  Although I am not necessarily advocating assimiliation, I think this factor has to be taken into consideration.

Consequently, the aboriginals who advocate parallelism may represent less than half of the national indigenous demographic.  Despite this, the parallelists receive a disproportionate amount of the media attention.  I think the non-parallelist perspectives of the integrationists and assimilationists should be given more weight.

Bibliography

Adams, M. & Gosnell-Myers, G. (2013, January 22).   Don't forget Canada's urban aboriginals.  They're not just passing through.  Globe and Mail: globeandmail.com

Cairns, A.C. (2000).  Citizens Plus: Aboriginal People and the Canadian State.  Vancouver: UBC Press.

Cairns, A.C. (2005).  First Nations and the Canadian State.  Kingston: Queen's University.

Gibson, G. (2009).  A New Look at Canadian Indian Policy.  Fraser Institute.

Government of Canada (2014, July 23).  The rights and responsibilities of citizenship.  cic.gc.ca

Helin, C. (2006).  Dances With Dependency: Indigenous Success Through Self-Reliance.  Vancouver: Orca Spirit.

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (2013, October 21).  First Nations in Canada.  aadnc-aandc.gc.ca

King, T. (2012).  The Inconvenient Indian.  Doubleday Canada.

Liebsman, H. (2005).  In Search of a Postcolonial Theory of Normative Integration: Reflections on A.C. Cairns' Theory of Citizens Plus. 38 (4), 955-976.

Reilly, J. (2014).  Bad Judgment.  Alberta: Rocky Mountain Books.

Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996).  Highlights from the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.  Retrieved October 15, 2015 from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada: aadnc-aandc.gc.ca

Sutton, P. (2011).  The Politics of Suffering: Indigenous Australia and the end of the liberal consensus (2nd ed).  Melbourne University.

Travato, F, Abada, R & Price, J.A. (2015, March 4).  Urban Migration of Aboriginal Peoples.  From Canadian Encyclopedia: canadianencyclopedia.ca

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015, December).  Final Report: Canada's Residential Schools: The History, Part 2, 1939-2000.  trc.ca (archived)

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (2015, June 2).  Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the Final Report.  trc.ca (archived)

Wagamese, R. (2015, October 9).  Accountability and Band Finances.  From First Nations Drum: firstnationsdrum.com

Widdowson, F, & Howard, A. (2013).  Approaches to Aboriginal Education in Canada.  (Widdowson, F, & Howard, A., ed).  Brush Education.