“In the midst of a party celebrating Canadian civilization, Indigenous peoples appear as static stereotypes.
A common theme in Canada’s 2017 celebrations is the inclusion of Indigenous peoples, and in the early months of this auspicious year, a trend is emerging. That inclusion is signalled via familiar symbols, often the “Indian Village.” At Ottawa’s Winterlude, New Year’s Eve celebrations in Saskatoon and across the country at official Canada 150 events, you will find blow-up igluvigaq, the ubiquitous tipi and maybe a reconstructed wigwam, too.
But touring these exhibits, the familiar tropes immediately appear, ready for Canadian consumption: tanned hides, basket-making workshops and bannock over a fire. Of course the vast majority of us do not live in the tipi or wigwam today. And in 1867, many of our ancestors were living in framed-timber homes. So why don’t Indigenous peoples get the benefit of a contemporary existence and why are the default images in Canada at 150 the performance of stereotypes?”
–Excerpt from Erica Violet Lee and Hayden King’s
The Wigwam Conspiracy: why are Canada 150’s Indigenous people stuck in time?
For this week for Canada 150 post we are sharing a CBC op-piece by two Indigenous scholars, educators and all around brilliant writers, The Wigwam Conspiracy: why are Canada 150’s Indigenous people stuck in time? by Erica Violet Lee and Hayden King.
You can click the link above to read the full article , but first, let’s learn about the writers.
Erica Violet Lee is Nēhiyaw philosopher queen from inner city Saskatoon and writes on environmental racism, colonial borders, and the love, knowledge, and beauty found in the wastelands. Check out her blog Moon Time Warrior about her experience as an Indigenous woman who lives to challenge the status quo.
Hayden King is Anishinaabe and Pottawatomi writer, student and educator from Gchi’mnissing. He’s also a professor over at Ryerson University. You can find more of his writing at Biidwewidam.