When I first took a glance at the PLO B2 near the beginning of Socials, I only saw a few sentences telling us to understand and analyse some concepts about Aboriginal People in Canada. The difference between a few months ago, and now is that I don’t simply see words anymore. Through discussions and readings in class, along with my own personal discoveries, I think I’ve started to see this topic from a whole new perspective.
I feel that I understand this PLO in more depth than I did a few weeks ago. In this PLO, I was really drawn to the stories about residential schools highlighting superficial differences between two people from different races and I knew I was drawn to this, because my mind kept on returning to these shocking thoughts for many days after. I knew that residential school existed and that terrible crimes and actions were committed there, but I had no idea about the gravity of these situations. I was aware of some of the basics prior to this term in Socials due to some literary works that reflected and showcased the contributions and perspectives of Aboriginal people. Two works that I read that really stood out was The Orenda, by Joseph Boyden, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, by Sherman Alexie, both indigenous writers. The Orenda is definitely a more mature read that I read more recently, and I felt that it really shone light to some of the struggles that both the indigenous and European parties went through in order to achieve their ideals. I highly recommend reading the book to find out more! The second book I read was in my middle school years, and I felt that it was a great introduction to the situation that Aboriginal people face in the present without being too heavy and information heavy. This topic and also some of the readings in class has also motivated me to find more literary works on this topic as I find that the ones I did read, I thoroughly enjoyed! I’d definitely like to explore the issue regarding residential schools, because I feel that this would help me see how Aboriginal relations have progressed since 1867.
Related to my interest in residential schools, I was also intrigued by the broader topic of the treatment of aboriginals. This made me really revaluate how I saw our charter of rights especially in our present day. The United Nations Charter of Human Rights is what is supposed to define human behaviour in the 21st century and the very first article even states, “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” Although the UN charter was formed much after the formation of residential schools, shouldn’t that urge Canada to uphold the universally decided standards for human rights for the Aboriginals nonetheless? Even today there are still horrible actions taken against the Aboriginals and this made me truly think about whether the UN charter and Canadian Charter of Human Rights really held much meaning. This inquiry is not something I can find a conclusion to in this semester, but it’ll probably be something that weighs on my mind. Some more reasonable questions I had regarding this aspect of PLO B2, was…
- What have the Aboriginals done to better their situation? If so, what effects have it had or even has there been anything done at all?
- Did gender change the way the average Canadian treated a specific Aboriginal individual?
- In non-multicultural countries, what is the minority if it isn’t race? If in some cases, it is religion or another defining factor, why did Canada first discriminate against race instead another factor such as religion?
I will know if I’ve answered question number one if I am able to explain some of the efforts Aboriginal people have made in order to improve their situation and how it affected the present, or whether it affected anything at all. By answering this question, I will also probably be more aware of some of the contributions Aboriginal people made to Canada. I believe I can answer question two by evaluating and comparing Aboriginal relations with Canadians for women and men and by reflecting upon these differences. Lastly…I honestly don’t think I can answer question three, but I thought I’d put it up here anyway (give it a shot fellow readers). It came up from a discussion about minorities in Korea with my mom and I thought it was a really interesting question!
Another question that I don’t think I will be able to answer anytime soon, but has still been weighing on my mind was whether the aboriginal have any right to exact revenge on people that made them suffer in the present day. I feel that if this current situation was flipped the other way around, the Canadians would have exacted revenge on the Aboriginals equal or more than what they experienced, so does that mean that the majority will always have the say as to who can exact revenge? Maybe the fellow readers of this post could provide some insight to these questions…
Lastly, this PLO definitely connects with other areas of the curriculum. An example being PLO C3. This PLO also heavily touches upon Aboriginal relations, only more specifically with Riel and the Metis. When I look at PLO C3, I see a narrower version of PLO B2 which focuses on the broader picture. I think this connection means that PLO B2 is significant enough in the formation of Canada that it deserves its own subsection about the Metis and Riel and although, C3 doesn’t cover all the details B2, it still highlights Aboriginal relations.
Another PLO that I found a connection with was PLO D1. Although it doesn’t explicitly state it in the PLO, from our class discussions, I’ve come to be aware that the Aboriginals had a great part in Macdonald’s National Policy, especially when it came to land, resources, and expansion. This comes to show that Macdonald had to work (manipulate) the Aboriginals in order to get what he wanted and I feel that his national policy also represented the need for the many treaties and deals mentioned in PLO B2. By looking deeper in PLO D1, you will surely find examples of many interactions with Aboriginals.
I hope this post has provided you with more insight about the Aboriginals in Canada and my perspective about these issues! Until next time!