Final Paper Self-Determination I want to use the opportunity to express myself because many things have built to who I am. This notion of self determination is giving me this much room to express myself in ways that I've never done before. This paper will focus on several aspects of Aboriginal's life and the affect it has. It will also discuss the necessary changes in the political system towards First Nation peoples. Firstly, I really enjoy the segment of story telling in this course because it is an opportunity to tell the surrounding about your life and you wouldn't need to resist yourself because stories does not have limitations. Storytelling has always been a vital part of the cultural identity of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada.
It has been in the culture for many years and it should continue to practice the art of storytelling. Stories were told to teach lessons, give warnings, and keep history alive. Imagine the richness of a culture that used stories not only to entertain, but to teach. Stories could bridge the gap between generations and transport the young people to a place that they might never experience for themselves, just as T.V. or movies do today. It was amazing to share my story in front of the class because I can voice an opinion without being rejected or questioned.
Aboriginal cultures across Canada rely on oral teachings for their existence. Stories were told to teach lessons, strengthen cultural ties, to entertain, and to keep history alive. I believe every culture has their stories and tales to tell to the next generation. For example a long time ago our old people told a lot of stories.
Stories of how things were made. How the animals grew or changed how people lived and moved around. They told stories of why the birds sang... They told these stories to pass on the knowledge and understandings that our people needed to know in order to survive in this country, long ago. Today we need these same stories to help us understand and enjoy the differences in lifestyles and traditions of our people. It will help us to know the stories, the traditions and songs of our culture, for it will provide us with windows on the world of unknowns.
It is good for us to know this and it will be good for us to pass this knowledge on to our kids. This will help us to learn and respect others. We can take in these messages about other lifestyles and behavior, and then learn responsible ways of doing things, and to understand why things are like they are. Storytelling traditions vary all over the world, yet have many things in common. Many people today are rediscovering the pleasures of telling stories, after their culture has lost most of its traditional storytelling, yet cannot easily find out much about the countless traditions with all their wisdom and techniques. I think it is high time that the international society takes responsibility to preserve this unique oral art.
New media-technology is a threat to the oral arts, but it is also a great advantage for preserving the arts that are still alive today. Throughout Canada, there are societies (or bands) of Aboriginal people who share the same geographic, political or aboriginal culture and linguistic lines. They are referred to as First Nations. I was always fascinated by the cultural activities First Nation people established for their culture. I believe Aboriginal culture is underrated because of the media.
In Toronto, the First Nation culture is expanding by educating people like the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto. Aboriginals lived in Australia for about 40,000 years before European settlement began in 1788. During that time they developed an amazing culture all based on survival. They found all of their food from the land. They developed an amazing religion that is based on the fact that everything was created in the Dreamtime, the time before time began.
The Aboriginals connect their origins with the Dreamtime. There were hundreds of different tribes around Australia, all with unique languages. The preservation of land is an important issue to Aboriginal communities as the land is an underlying factor in aboriginal spirituality. Aboriginal spirituality is derived from the concept of the Dreaming, where the roots lie in a variety of stories, ceremonies, values and structures. The Dreaming dominates all spiritual and physical aspects of aboriginal life.
It sets out the structure of society and rules for ceremonies that are performed to maintain the life of the land. Aborigines believe that they do not own the land but are part of it so they therefore have the duty to respect and maintain the land. After the years of battle with the European settlements, the Aboriginals face the dilemma of land claims. The settlements then force the Aboriginals out of their land and create a boundary of racism between the existences of First nation peoples. Racism is probably the first form of discrimination we think of. It is the belief that some races of people are inferior to other 'races'.
Racism usually involves negative acts against the group of people considered inferior. Genocide is the deliberate extermination of a whole race or ethnic or religious grouping of people. The impact of racism on the Aboriginal people is not just horrific but genocidal. Racism is a problem for Aboriginal Australians. Indigenous Australians have not enjoyed the same rights as non-Indigenous Australians. They were not even counted among the numbers of the people of the Commonwealth, and were even excluded from the category "people of any race".
In the past, many Indigenous Australians were driven off their traditional lands. Children were forcibly removed from their families. Indigenous people were frequently denied the right to vote, and they did not have full and equal rights to vote. Although discrimination laws have been removed from the statues, many indigenous people still experience discrimination in their daily basis. In the past, the rights of many Indigenous Australians to raise families were undermined by the forced removal of their children.
Sometimes this was done to deliberately break the children's connection with their families and culture, in order to make them lose their Indigenous identity. Many people lost their identity through the process of genocide and it still remains a scar within their lives. Canadian Charter of Rights established the Canadian Constitution Act in 1982. Aboriginal peoples in Canada are Indigenous Peoples recognized in the Charter in section 25 and 35. It also refers to self-identification of Aboriginal Peoples who live within Canada, but who have not chosen to accept the extinction of their rights of Sovereignty or Aboriginal Title of their lands. Section 25 was amended to expand the protection provided for rights associated with land claims.
Under the heading "General", the section reads: " 25. The guarantee in this Charter of certain rights and freedoms shall not be construed as to abrogate or derogate from any aboriginal, treaty or other rights or freedoms that pertain to the aboriginal peoples of Canada including (a) any rights or freedoms that have been recognized by the Royal Proclamation of October 7, 1763; and (b) any rights or freedoms that now exist by way of land claims agreements or may be so acquired". The section recognizes the rights of Aboriginal peoples of Canada in order to protect their culture, customs, traditions and languages. The section also makes it clear that other rights contained in the Charter will not interfere with the rights of Aboriginal peoples. It is a reassurance from the government to give the benefit for the First Nation peoples. We can distinguish the difference of awareness to the Aboriginal people as we educated ourselves about the culture and the importance of the law Canadian has established for the Aboriginal people.
Yet we cannot justify ourselves to believe that we are not deliberately shifting away from a culture that we do not want to understand. Aboriginal people need to gather more awareness from the government in order to provide equality and demolish racism in regions across Canada. How can we improve the next generation of Aboriginal people and their children? The answer lies in the hands of government assistance in the educational system for Aboriginal people. Perhaps the most recent and profound example of how the Canadian government intends to allocate problems with Aboriginal housing, education and health care was the one proposed by Prime Minister Paul Martin. It was then that the Prime Minister and his liberal government promised to spend over $4 billion dollars over the next four years to improve Aboriginal housing, health care and education.
The curriculum in these schools was nothing like what other Canadian children were learning at the time. Class time consisted of one hour of religious training and 2 hours of instruction in reading, writing and mathematics. Another problem faced by Aboriginal students has been the lack of cultural education. In mid 1970's, the education department in Vancouver established the Native Indian Teacher Education program.
This program is only open to qualified education students of Aboriginal ancestry who wish to build upon and strengthen their cultural heritage and identity. Alberta also made an effort to create a better educational system for First Nations. The aim was to provide affordable programs for students to study and able to keep them off the streets. The effort at improving post secondary education for Aboriginal students in Alberta were over $5 million in 2003, yet we do not sense the system being implemented else where. We should have reasons for concern because only 37 percent of the 117,000 Aboriginal students living on reserves in Canada will graduate from high school, less than half the national average. Some 20 percent of reserve children eligible to attend elementary and secondary schools are not enrolled, while 18 percent of those who do attend will drop out before completing Grade 9.
Canada also created an incentive award to those who are keen about their educational life and the achievements of their future. The following are a few examples of people who may qualify for the award. o you are a returning university student o you are taking business courses at community college, to be your own boss o you are taking social development studies or discovering yourself through human services programs o you have received your welding ticket or a trade certificate The award is to motivate First Nation people to pursuit an educational career. It also helps the youth to pay for post secondary education if they are determined to pursuit learning. In my final paper, I would like to write a reflection towards aboriginal and how their lives are affected by individuals that contaminate them with ignorance.
In my early experience of life, I've encounter many individuals who faces the ignorance of racism and their knowledge about other race. It is difficult to live in a place among people with discrimination and racism. Toronto is known for multiculturalism and the fact that Aboriginal peoples are being excluded in much attention that they deserves. The government is aiding the next generation of First Nation people by providing educational aids and establishing awards to motivate individuals whom want to pursuit a learning career. The government having forced aboriginal children into those residential schools but they do not allow them to have a choice. We should have left them alone to decide for themselves whether they preferred to retain their ancestral traditions or assimilate into mainstream Canada.
This is a perfect opportunity for all of us to explore that most crucial of issues: the limits of government, regardless of whom or how many are governed. We can only assume that some First Nation people want to continue the practice and culture within their region and some may want to assimilate into the mainstream Canada. It is difficult for some to scale themselves to the mainstream Canada because of the existing poverty. The situation is clear, the most pressing and immediate needs identified is the lack of food. Recent studies indicate that Aboriginal people are at least four times more likely to report experiencing hunger than any other ethnic group in Canada. Basic foods such as bread, milk and cereal are scarce in many Aboriginal families.
Therefore poverty leads to poor mental and physical development in children. More than 50% of Aboriginal children are living in poverty; if so, how can we improve on the existing educational system if children are being starve to a point that education is meaningless. The Canadian government should focus on the fixation of Aboriginal poverty so that people are able to have control of their basic needs. Then we can pursuit on future development in educational system and career training.