One area of Alisons Kimbley’s presentation which really resonated with me, was watching the ‘Stereotypes’ video produced by Wab Kinew. In this video, one of the stereotypes Kinew addressed was related to the common stereotype of alcoholism. This was not a surprising stereotype, as the “Drunk Indian” and other extremly negative stereotypes related to alcohol are often mentioned when in refference to the Aboriginal population. The point Kinew made which greatly resonated with me, was statement that every race of people “pass out”- the difference is, where the person passes out. The presenter indicated that caucasion people pass out too. However, when caucasion people over-indulge in alcohol, they typical pass out at concerts or stadiums. The only difference is the poverty level which results in Aboriginal populations passing out in more public (“shameful”) areas such as public benches. This comparison between the two races, with the only difference being location due to poverty, is something I believe many people in the population disregard.
I was also deeply impacted by Lawnie Elliots story of her childhood and upbringing. What resonated with me was her sharing of what her father had said to her when she was a young girl, which was, “You already have 2 strikes against you. First, you are Aboriginal. Second, you are a woman.” Being a woman in today’s society, I am often aware of the challenges and unfairness we as women face in daily life. This quote by Lawnie’s father provided me with the perspective of this challenge by a women who is also Aboriginal. The challenges and struggles in their lives are doubled, and this is a huge societal issue that I had never considered before. As well as the statistic that Aboriginal women are 5 times more likely than any other group in Canada to be the victum of domestic violence.
I also really respected and appreciated having Alison inform the class that sometimes the best intentions to incoperate Aboriginal culture into the classroom through activities is best left untouched. The reasoning behind this is that when activities like this are attempted within the class, the true cultural importance of the activity is often overlooked. Educators more often than not do not have enough time to truly demonstrate the meaning and cultural sacredity behind the activtity. She explained that activities such as replicating tipees with food items does not represent the true time, thought, effort and meaning put behind the creation of the tipee- and would better be left undone as an activity. She provided the example, that to recieve a feather is an extreme honor, it is part of their identity, they are sacred, and these feathers should not try to be replicated by “Dollarama” feathers and incoperated into student crafts. She provided the idea of discussing the traditional beadworking, as this is something students can represent- though this activity should also be discussed with an Elder. I truly valued and gained great insight from Alison’s presentation she shared with us.