Richard Wagamese’s semi-autobiographical novel Keeper’n Me paints the portrait of a young man’s experience—one shared by many Indigenous peoples across Canada—revealing a new perspective on Aboriginal life. First Nations have often been romanticized and the subject of Western fantasies rather than Indigenous truth concerning Aboriginal ways rooted in “respect, honor, kindness, sharing and much, much love” (Wagamese, 1993 quote). Keeper’n Me tells the story of Garnet Raven, an Ojibway, who is taken from his family as a child by the Children’s Aid Society, and placed in a number of (white) foster families, where his Indigenous identity is stripped away. He serves time for drug charges, during which he receives a letter from his brother, inviting him back to the White Dog Reserve to rekindle ties with his people and learn about Ojibway culture, traditions, spirituality, and philosophy with the help of his community and his teacher, Keeper, an elder and recovering alcoholic who was instructed in his earlier years by Raven’s grandfather. In viewing the novel through the theoretical frameworks of the “Middle Ground”, “Orientalism”, and “Agency”, Keeper’n Me explores Canadian-Indigenous relations in a moving, yet humorous way, as well as the meaning of “being” a First Nation in modern society,
Essay Outline The human race that inhabited the lands earlier than anyone else, Aboriginals in Canada had conquered many obstacles which got them to what they are today. In the past, Canadian Aboriginals have dealt with many gruesome issues that primarily involved the Canadians opposing them or treating them like ‘‘wards.’’ The Indian Act is a written law which controls the Indian’s lives and it is often amended several times to make Indian lives either peaceful or cruel but especially, cruel. Aboriginals found the Indian Act a massive problem in their lives due to it completely controlling them and how they lived on their reserve.
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.
Richard Wagamese brings to light the troubles of aboriginals living in Northern Canada in his book Indian Horse. Wagamese demonstrates the maltreatment aboriginals have faced at the hands of the Zhaunagush and their residential schools. The disgusting truth of the treatment of aboriginals in Canada is shown through recovering alcoholic, Saul Indian Horse, who recounts his life from the time he lived in the bush with his native family, the Anishinabeg, to the the time he checked into The New Dawn Treatment Centre. Seen through Saul’s eyes, the Canadian government captures and transports native children to residential schools. Not only are these children stripped from their native way of life, they are placed in an environment that eerily resembles an internment camp.
Additionally under the Indian act, first nations people do not own their own land. They don’t enjoy the same property rights as most Canadians do. First nations live on land that is “a tract of land, the legal title which is vested in Her Majesty.” Absence of property rights is a disaster for first nations communities because it’s hard to do business when people can’t earn equity on a house or use it as collateral to borrow money. It’s hard to create a thriving community when people can’t hand down wealth to their children.
Over the past few decades, there has been many distinct perspectives and conflicts surrounding the historical context between the Indigenous peoples in Canada and the Canadian Government. In source one, the author P.J Anderson is trying to convey that the absolute goal of the Indian Residential School system in Canada has been to assimilate the Indian nation and provide them with guidance to “ forget their Indian habits”, and become educated of the “ arts of civilized life”, in order to help them integrate into society and “become one” with their “White brethren”. It is clearly evident throughout the source that the author is supportive of the Indian residential school system and strongly believes that the Indian residential School System
For decades in Canada, officially beginning in 1892, children were taken away from their families and put into schools that would change and take away their views and beliefs, initial knowledge, image, and identity. In the earlier stages, these schools were referred to as Industrial Schools for Indians. Today, we call them Residential Schools with Aboriginal survivors who are able to tell their stories. Aboriginal people suffered while there schools were running. This essay will compare the knowledge in a recent article to primary sources that were written while Industrial Schools were in action.
Residential Schools was an enormous lengthening event in our history. Residential schools were to assimilate and integrate white people’s viewpoints and values to First Nations children. The schools were ran by white nuns and white priests to get rid of the “inner Indian” in the children. In residential schools, the children suffered immensely from physical, emotional, sexual and spiritual abuse. Although the many tragedies, language was a huge loss by the First Nations children.
“Kill the Indian in him, and save the man.”, said Richard Henry Pratt. This belief is redolent of the treatment of Native Americans within indian schools. Indian Schools used gentrification as their method of eliminating Native American culture. “ ...long braids worn by indian boys were cut off ... the children were given new ‘white names’...traditional native foods abandoned...forbidden to speak their native languages…”, all aspects that indicated any native american culture were abandoned.
Imagine being ripped apart from family members, culture, tradition, and labelled a savage that needs to be educated. Imagine constantly facing punishment at school for being one’s self. Unfortunately, these events were faced head on for many First Nations people living in Canada in the late 20th century. These First Nations people were the victims of an extensive school system set up by the government to eradicate Aboriginal culture across Canada and to assimilate them into what was considered a mainstream society.
The TRC’s “The History” author appeals to logos through the use quantitative findings. The use of logical evidence from the collection of testimonials made by former residential school students is an effective way to aid the persuasion of a reader. Throughout “The History”, the author describes the memories of known First Nations peoples Frederic Ernest Koe, Marlene Kayseas, Lily Bruce and many others. In addition, the author quotes Vitaline Elsie Jenner’s use of ‘kaya nakasin’ (TRC, 2015, p.38) in describing her experience with residential school. The author’s example that contains the use native language reaffirms his credibility and detailed knowledge of the
There has long been significant historiographical and popular controversy about the conditions experienced by students in the residential schools. While day schools for First Nations, Metis and Inuit children always far outnumbered residential schools, a new consensus emerged in the early 21st century that the latter schools did significant harm to Aboriginal children who attended them by removing them from their families, depriving them of their ancestral languages, through sterilization, and by exposing many of them to physicalleading to sexual abuse by staff members, and other students, andenfranchising them forcibly.
The summer before eleventh grade, I was given the opportunity to travel to Tsawout, a First Nations reserve situated in Vancouver Island for a week on a short-term missions trip. While assisting to run a camp for the children in the reserve, I was exposed to the mental and emotional burden for those whom had experienced, and were victims of residential schools. Many of the Tsawout Elders witnessed the death of their culture and the brutality these schools wrought on those impacted: families and survivors. The Elders expressed their outrage and past struggles with passion, laying bare their innermost thoughts and ordeals. They challenged me to open my eyes to beyond the reaches of my comfort zone.
In Knoph’s “Sharing our Story with All Canadians”, Knoph emphasizes the effects of propaganda on the First Nation by describing the “colonizing gaze to depict Aboriginal culture to be inferior” (Knoph 89), showing that the aboriginals were brainwashed to believe they had to adapt to the newfound culture. The narrator speaks of the uniform brainwashing of minority groups in order to appeal to western culture; “in the face of a crass white world we has erased so much of ourselves and sketched so many cartoons characters of white people over-top the emptiness inside” (Maracle 158), revealing that the heritage of the older generations will soon be completely forgotten. Maracle chose to implement the idea of brainwashing into the story to place emphasis on the importance of carrying on traditions to remember the roots instead of becoming a one indifferent
Losing one’s cultural knowledge, and therefore the reality of their culture, allows others to have control over their collective and individual consciousness as well as their destiny. In this case, it is clear that the United States government has had the dominant relationship over the Native