Insight on 10 myths about Indigenous Peoples

The definition of “myth”, according to the Oxford Canadian Dictionary, is “a widely held but false notion.” When it comes to the topic of Indigenous Peoples there are many widely held but false notions or myths.

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Appreciating or appropriating Indigenous culture?

A reader recently asked us a question about talking sticks.  We changed the question up a little so as to preserve the confidentiality of the questioner.  

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Why Cultural Appropriation is Disrespectful

Randomly plucking “popularized” images of a marginalized culture for entertainment without respect for or an understanding of the culture is culturally disrespectful.

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Things to know when selecting your Truth and Reconciliation calls to action trainer

It has been over three years (June 2, 2015) now since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada released its summary report and 94 calls to action for reconciliation. Testimony gathered during a six-year period from over 7,000 survivors of the residential school system, forms the basis of the report.The calls to action (CTAs) targeted key institutionsincluding child welfare, health, justice, education, and business.

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Forest Fires and Indigenous Communities

The severity and impact of forest fires dominate the headlines every summer. In 2016, the Fort McMurray, Alberta, wildfire invoked the largest mass evacuation in Canadian history, with nearly 90,000 people forced from their homes. Many of the evacuees were Indigenous from urban areas and reserves.

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Why continuity of Indigenous cultural identity is critical

We all belong to some form of culture and identify with that culture in varying degrees. Our understanding of our own cultural identity begins at birth and is developed by the environment in which we grow up. It may be a loose affiliation or the guide that directs our daily activities. Whatever the connection, our cultural identity provides a sense of belonging.

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Debunking Misconceptions About First Nation Totem Poles

There’s lots of lore and misconceptions about First Nation totem poles. In this article we address six of the more common misconceptions.

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What are Gladue Reports?

Indigenous people account for less than five percent of the Canadian population, yet represent 25 per cent of the total inmate population. Canada is not alone, however, in having over representation of Indigenous inmates. In Australia and New Zealand the rate of incarceration of Indigenous people is also disproportionately high.

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Canada’s Complicated History with First Nation Totem Poles

Canada has a complicated history with the totem pole. Totems have been misunderstood, coveted, stolen, quashed, copied, and celebrated.

The first recorded mention of a pole, which was a house pole,  was on Langara Island in the Haida village of Dadans, c.1790, by John Bartlett, who wrote: 

“We went ashore where one of their winter houses stood. The entrance was cut out of a large tree and carved all the way up and down. The door was made like a man's head and the passage the house was between his teeth and was built before they knew the use of iron."

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A Snapshot of On-Reserve Clean Water Issues

In Canada, access to clean drinking water is considered a given. A given, I suspect, that is frequently taken for granted by those who enjoy clean drinking water at the twist of the tap. For thousands of Indigenous Peoples, clean water at the twist of tap is an elusive dream. Entire generations in some communities have grown up under various degrees of drinking water advisories (DWA). The Neskantaga First Nation, with a population of about 240, in northern Ontario has had a DWA in place since 1996. That means one full generation has grown up under a DWA and a second generation is now growing up having never turned on the tap for a glass of water.

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