In the Blog
Not just dumb, but racist
I have never liked Margaret Wente’s work in the Globe and Mail. In fact, I find her on her best days to be stridently conservative, and on her worst days, simply boring. But today, she wrote something completely unacceptable. I’m sitting here in shock, reading it over. Her opinion piece in the Globe and Mail describes how high-profile Olympics official Dick Pound, who called the Canada of 400 years ago “a country of savages”, said something “dumb, but true.”
Excuse me? Is it that the white settlers of this country need to continue to believe that they are the only anthropological experts able to claim what is true and historical and powerful? The piece is most definitely an indictment of native studies, traditional knowledge and elders finally working in systems of Canadian education and government: the halls of power in this country on native land.
The romanticization of Aborginal peoples that she describes is part and parcel of infantilizing them. This paternalistic approach capitalized on taking away Aboriginal rights to self-determination, culture, language, environment, dignity and hope for the future.
This approach was, and is, the chosen path of the Canadian government in resolving land claims and sovereignty rights.
That such a blatantly racist thing can be printed in Canada’s supposedly most progressive newspapers completely angers me. And she names the current reality of life for Aboriginal peoples in Canada merely a “cultural divide” not (my words) “Western colonialism based on total annihilation” ?
I’m seriously shaken. Tell me how this could be possible. Does this woman really believe that native culture is what kills Aboriginals in this country? You only need look at the recent video on what’s going on in Barriere Lake (Northern Quebec) to see who is attempting to kill who.