Canadian culture is something that’s often open for interpretation or debate yet there’s no debating the culture of our indigenous Canadians, and perhaps this is the only true Canadian Culture there is.
However many members of this community feel that there culture is misunderstood, misrepresented, and appropriated.
Cultural resource program coordinator at the N’Amerind Friendship Centre, Ron Hill, explains what indigenous culture is all about.
“It’s our laws, our language, our ceremonies, the arts, its a big thing, it’s all encompassing. Some people say it’s a way of life I say, more so it’s a frame of mind.”
Unfortunately what’s also become apart of that culture is overcoming past obstacles.
“Whether it’s our personal history, traumas and dramas if you will, and our collective history. Whether its through the boarding school era, the sixties scoop, its been generations of our people that have had to confront those different situations and it’s something that’s still continuing today.” said Hill.
Something that perpetuates that is the education system which continues to incorrectly educate the majority of Canadians on Indigenous history. Not only is this is a disservice to Canadians but it’s also detrimental to our indigenous population.
“When we look at our culture as being something less than and were taught that through the education system, it has an impact on our people. That’s something that gets in the way of putting a value on our language which is apart of our identity.” said Hill.
Speaking of identity, how exactly do indigenous people want to be identified or what would they prefer to be referred to as? Hill suggests this is something that can be subjective.
“We like to use labels, indigenous, aboriginal, first nations, there’s all different kinds of words, people don’t know what to refer to when they’re talking about our people. People may take offence to indigenous, aboriginal, or first nations, me myself, I’m comfortable with any of them.”