The voices of Indigenous children are unheard and purposely ignored. This is portrayed through the literature of Birdie by Tracey Lindberg and Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese. Despite receiving apologies from Prime Ministers Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau, the government system to protect First Nations families appears to have detrimental effects on the native children. This is proven by young children turning to drugs in order to satisfy their growing pain, by family members who abuse their kids because of alcohol addictions, and the increasing discriminatory behaviour by surrounding communities. To begin with, young children are turning to drugs in order to satisfy their growing pain. After the terrible incident of residential schools, the neverending history of suffering can cause a child to reciprocate their feelings by abusing substances. In Tracey Lindberg’s, Birdie, it’s stated briefly of the ways in which Bernice relies on alcohol on many lonely nights. “She knows that she shouldn’t have gone to the motel with him. There are a lot of shouldn’t haves. Drunk gin. Flirted. Talked to strangers. Drunk gin. Flirted with strangers who bought her gin. It really was a limited and vicious circle. The first drink was the hardest. Well, getting to the first drink was the hardest. She didn’t allow herself the luxury of just one drink (or just one anything, for that matter. Getting over the guilt of being a dry drunk/drinker (because, let 's face it, she was never going to
The chapter vividly portrays the silencing of Indigenous voices, leaving these students feeling alone and without agency. The separation from their culture and identity further intensified the sense of dislocation and isolation experienced by Indigenous children in residential schools. Therefore, through this chapter, Downie highlights the need for awareness and understanding of the trauma experienced by Indigenous children, which has long-lasting effects, ultimately leading to the importance of reconciliation with
It recalls Mary’s long, hard days at Mission School in Fort St. James, a residential school and the joys and struggles of bearing 12 children. Mary John joined the Homemakers Club, which tried to “make life better for [the reserve] families and … village” through knitting, quilting, and crocheting, but as injustices rose within the reserve, they felt that they “could no longer … leave Native politics to others.” The club took a political standpoint and fought for Aboriginal rights and justice involving the deaths of Aboriginal peoples on Mary John’s reserve and the overall living conditions. Mary’s story is a personal account of the discrimination, poor health conditions, living conditions and laws that Aboriginal peoples
Critical Summary #3: First Nations Perspectives In Chapter eight of Byron Williston’s Environmental Ethics for Canadians First Nation’s perspectives are explored. The case study titled “Language, Land and the Residential Schools” begins by speaking of a public apology from former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He apologizes for the treatment of “Indians” in “Indian Residential Schools”. He highlights the initial agenda of these schools as he says that the “school system [was] to remove and isolate [Aboriginal] children from the influence of their homes, families, traditions and cultures, and to assimilate them[…]” (Williston 244).
Tracey Lindberg’s novel Birdie is narratively constructed in a contorting and poetic manner yet illustrates the seriousness of violence experience by Indigenous females. The novel is about a young Cree woman Bernice Meetoos (Birdie) recalling her devasting past and visionary journey to places she has lived and the search for home and family. Lindberg captures Bernice’s internal therapeutic journey to recover from childhood traumas of incest, sexual abuse, and social dysfunctions. She also presents Bernice’s self-determination to achieve a standard of good health and well-being. The narrative presents Bernice for the most part lying in bed and reflecting on her dark life in the form of dreams.
“Bruises fade, but the pain lasts forever” (Christina Kelly). This compelling quote depicts the horrifying side effects of abuse. In the gripping novel titled “Indian Horse,” author Richard Wagamese successfully informs readers about the severely unfair conditions in which the Native Indians were treated. Through Saul’s terrifying experiences in the Residential school and hockey tournaments, readers can effectively identify the purpose of the novel – treating someone through any kind of abuse can leave them with long lasting pain, and memories that will haunt them forever. There were numerous incidents at the residential school regarding physical abuse, and after effects that followed.
Native Americans in Canadian society are constantly fighting an uphill battle. After having their identity taken away in Residential Schools. The backlash of the Residential Schools haunts them today with Native American people struggling in today 's society. Native Americans make up five percent of the Canadian population, yet nearly a quarter of the murder victims. The haunting memories of Residential Schools haunt many Native Americans to this day.
Alcohol is at the root of many stories of Indigenous people that are heard on television and the news. Alcohol always seems to be the root cause of car accidents, murders and assaults. The stereotype of the “drunken Indian” plays such a vivid role in way people perceive Indigenous people . Because of the misunderstanding and marginalization that these people face, they get stereotypes placed on them that do not showcase their culture and way of living but instead showcase the mistakes and problems that they may be suffering from. Instead of bringing up the mistakes that some Indigenous people are dealing with, there should be steps taken for these people to rectify the substance abuse problems that they are facing .
Rather than focusing on instilling a law that would change the behavior of people, i.e. sentencing youth to jail in hopes of them changing their law-breaking ways, the tribal system used their culture as the basis for instilling change and created a program that reflected their indigenous values. Cody’s connection to his tribe grew and although not raised knowing what a native was, knowing he was one and having a support group to teach him was a driving force towards succeeding in the program. Indigenous legal systems have been known for their unconventional ways of dealing with offenders that do not seek to gain compensation for any wrongdoing. If Cody would have been left to the process of the Canadian justice system, there would not have been any remorse from his part, he would wallow in his punishment. However, the traditional tribal way is to work with the offender because crimes can be explained through the tribe’s cultural norms.
The indigenous people are literally crashing into the buildings produced by the colonizing culture, “Look out! Bob shouts. There are Indians flying into the skyscrapers and falling on the sidewalk.” (King 63) and it adequately represents the lack of adaptability of the Native Canadians. Thomas King taps again into the effects of colonialism and notions the indigenous people as uneducated and an untamed species.
Canada is often regarded as multicultural country with a high human development, great education, high life expectancy and extraordinary healthcare, proving it is an over all exceptional place to live. Although this might be the case, a fraction of Canadians who are “Indians” believe their native culture is being compromised and quality of life does not reflect that of the over all population. In the Globe and Mail article , To be Indian in Canada Today… by Richard Wagamese’s the author argues the pros and cons to granting Métis and non-status Indians status under the Constitution Act. As well as, when it comes to nationalism how are Indians regarded and what role do the first nations play in the construction of Canadian culture (Wagamese,
In recent years, Canada has built a reputation for its diverse and accepting society, however, the racist and violent treatment towards different ethnic groups, specifically Indigenous communities, makes up a significant part of the country's history and continues to have an effect on today’s society. The novel, Indian Horse, written by Richard Wagamese, strives to prove how individuals who encounter racial abuse and stereotypes will face hardships in an attempt to live to their full potential. This point is exhibited through Saul’s harsh experience in Residential School, his hockey journey, and alcoholism struggle. SUBTOPIC: The first example of how racism and racial stereotypes prevent an individual from reaching their full potential
Indigenous people are incarcerated at much higher rates than non-Indigenous in Canada and are incarcerated for longer periods of time (Cook & Roesh, 2012, p.222). Canadians have put Indigenous communities through much heartache and pain. With the colonization of Indigenous people to residential schools, Canadians continue to stigmatize and treat Indigenous people poorly. Indigenous people are more likely to suffer from drug abuse using needles because of the intergenerational trauma suffered through their parents attending residential schools in Canada (Bombay, Matheson, & Anisman, 2014, p. 327). This puts them at a higher criminal risk than others because of what they have been subjected to.
Blackfoot is a native tribe that resides in the Great Plains of Montana and Canadian provinces of Alberta. King writes about how the mother had to face several guards and spend a few nights in the car with her son because of their treatment by Canada. In my point of view, I find the theme to be that aboriginals are treated as objects and are forced to give up their identity and lifestyle. Just like in America, it seems like that Canada is pushing aboriginals are pushed to the side and cover it with some sugar. For instance, when parked at an border office, a woman tried to persuaded the mother to pick a identity by saying “I can understand how you feeling about having to tell us about your citizenship, and here’s what I’ll do.
Birdie is not an easy read, an unexpected fact, considering the woman who penned it, Tracey Lindberg, is a lawyer and professor by trade. The difficulty in reading the novel comes not only from its harrowing subject matter but also from the way the story is told. It’s non-linear and jumps back and forth from the present to the past. At the start of each chapter are poems, which often transform characters into animals, such as Bernice Meetos/Birdie who longs to return to the tree, Pimatisewin. The story doesn’t entirely belong to Bernice however, as the chapters tell the story of Beatrice from the voice of five different women- her cousin, aunt, mother, landlord and herself.