Indigenous Issues 101

Since I began this blog, I have endeavoured to create resources for people unfamiliar with specific aboriginal topics.  I like to call them Indigenous Issue Primers, because they are introductions to topics you could spend a lifetime specialising in.  Not every post I put up is a Primer, so I’ve decided to list them below topically, for ease of reference (and so I remember what I’ve already addressed!).

My focus is very much on what I call “myth debunking”.  I have found it very difficult over the years to have discussions about anything related to indigenous peoples because so many bizarre beliefs get in the way.  Try discussing what happened at Oka, for example, and you’ll quickly realise you’ve got to explain a lot of history and address a lot of misunderstandings before you can even get to that topic.

For me, this is a time saving device.  A series of resources for myself and anyone else who wants them, so that some of the most prevalent myths can be quickly and clearly addressed, allowing a bigger conversation to (hopefully) happen.

These pieces have been written over a number of years, so many hyperlinks will probably no longer work.

Specific Myths or Misunderstandings

Identity and Culture

Aboriginal Law and Treaties

Historic and Continuing Injustice

Indigenous Health and Safety


Thoughts About Language/Culture

Articles About Attawapiskat


Share this: Google+ Reddit Print

45 Responses to Indigenous Issues 101

  1. Scott says:

    Hi, did you know that your links on this page are all to missing pages? Looked like some pretty cool articles too, not sure if they got moved or were deleted.

    • Thank you very much for letting me know! The links must have been broken in the move. When I have a moment, I’ll fix it all up!

      • Dylan says:

        Hi apihtawikosisan, what’s new? I’ve found your writing super helpful as a settler trying to understand how we’ve got to where we are.

        I realize you must be pretty busy with the Cree Language Classroom these days, but if you get a moment to repair the links on this page, I’d love to link to it from my blog ( and get more people reading up on decolonization.

  2. Pingback: CPHA 2012 conference « These slippery people

  3. Pingback: Grow up, Canada (part II in a series) « These slippery people

  4. Marilee Pittman says:

    Thank you! We need a Primer.

  5. Barry O'Regan says:

    Maybe I am a tad off base here, as many movies previously show First Nations travesties.

    One wonders if anyone after watching the 1980s movie “Red Dawn” where Communist forces invaded the USA. Then take the movie “Red Dawn” reshoot it and put it in the 16th century (without the helicopter gunships etc) .

    Replace the premise of invading Communist forces with Europeans and replace US Citizens with First Nations peoples. Betcha that would put a unique perspective.

    Just sayin………….

  6. Pingback: Indigenous issues & a post-growth world – some links | Degrowth Decroissance Canada

  7. Pingback: Resources: #IdleNoMore « Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement Ottawa –

  8. Pingback: Day 20 of hunger strike: For the love of God, Stephen Harper, meet with Chief Theresa Spence and address indigenous rights | God Discussion

  9. Steven Allen says:

    Excellent site. The treaties need to be framed in contract form that we all might understand. Canada has been “leased” to european settlers for certain treaty rights like education, health care and resource useage. Deciding not to live up to our end of the bargain means the bargain is null and void. I wonder if Europe or Asia would accept most of us back and how we would fare if we returned.

  10. Pingback: Idle No More, and All The Things We Don’t Know We Don’t Know | nothing in winnipeg

  11. FANTASTIC site. I’m forcing as many people as I can to read everything on this site.

  12. Pingback: How to be a #settler ally | Valley Road Rambler

  13. Pingback: As long as the drums beat | Valley Road Rambler

  14. Andrew says:

    Article: American History As It Should Be Taught
    “Historians often overlook the fact that the early explorers found, not a savage people ready to kill and scalp them, but a peace-loving, hospitable people ready to love them and who welcomed them to their land. When there was a time of famine among the early whites, who was it who brought them meat, corn and fish? It was only after guns were given the Indian with which to kill his brother, liquor was fed him to make his mind weak, his country was taken from him, treaties were violated by those whom we call civilized, and his people were driven from place to place, that he became the savage that we read of in history. Of the causes of his savagery, little or nothing is mentioned!
    “If we continue to think of the Indian as a savage, should we not hide our heads in shame when we look at the horrors of modern warfare? Did the so-called savage Indians invent poisonous gases that would sweep away whole villages of people? Did he invent the modern bombs, cannons, tanks, machine guns, submarines, warships and other implements that are being used in every country that today calls itself civilized! Well might the Indian laugh at some teachers when they call his ancient ancestors warlike savages!”
    —Aren Akweks, The Native Voice, March 1950, p16 (

    Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

  15. Pingback: On the Blog

  16. Pingback: I learn a lot from Twitter | hakerann

  17. Pingback: On teaching Aboriginal history to non-Aboriginal students | no need to raise your hand

  18. Pingback: Splash of colour to the relationship talks | Kenji Tokawa

  19. Pingback: The art of the indigenous protest movement | Cult MTL

  20. Pingback: The Art Of The Indigenous Protest Movement | PopularResistance.Org

  21. Pingback: Nationhood is a Verb | Indigenous Nationhood Movement

  22. LosIndiov1 says:

    So awesome. Thanks for all the hard work on this.

  23. Pingback: Module 4 Post 2 – Blogs by Aboriginal authors | ETEC 521 – May 2015

  24. Pingback: The Gal-lery: Indigenous Artists and Art Resources. | The Daily Geekette

  25. pete trung says:

    equal is equal Canada is a country where all are equal giving one race special rights based on outdated agreements is racism. If the native population wants equal they should start by paying equal tax and accepting equal hunting and fishing rights

    • Looks like you desperately need to read some of the pieces in this collection, as you are sorely misinformed about the history of this country, and the way in which “equality” has been, and continues to be denied Indigenous peoples. Not in the way you seem to think of it, where we are somehow “given more”, but in fact, in the way in which we are systemically denied standards comparable to non-Indigenous peoples. This is not a choice we have made, it is a foundational objective of the colonial state.

      • pete tung says:

        The vast majority of non native Canadians came to Canada with nothing fleeing war oppression starvation persecution, yet instead of using these horrors as excuses to fail they prospered. It is time natives quit using excuses for there failures and prosper. If any other segment of the Canadian population had the extra benefits Natives receive they would all be millionaires

        • If any other segment of the Canadian population had to exist with the discriminatory lower funding, systemic racism, wholesale removal of children that continues to this day, the forced and coerced sterilization, the brutally higher sentencing lengths and overall over-representation in the prison system, the murders and disappearances, the lack of food security and potable water…

          Well, if any other segment of the Canadian population experienced that, you’d probably have empathy for them.

          Which suggests something, doesn’t it.

  26. Jaqueline says:

    Wonderful and informative site. Thank you so much for taking the time to enlighten people about Native issues in Canada.

  27. Pingback: What do you do with a culturally appropriative tattoo? | Top List

  28. shubhra agrawal says:

    I had come across a few posts about human rights issues relating to Canadian aboriginals on Tumblr but I never really paid much attention to them. I was assigned Canada as the topic of our International studies project and I remembered there were some major issues to be discussed here so I went looking for them on Tumblr because Google was incredibly unhelpful when it came to aboriginal issues. I found a link to your blog there and thank you so much! I’ve gone through a few posts here already and they’re all incredibly helpful. I hope to start a good discussion in class about the issues so more people can find out about it. 🙂

  29. Pingback: Indigenous Issues: “So what are the solutions!?” | Ecocide Alert

  30. Alex Kubish says:

    A professor at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law just shared this blog with our class, and I’m delighted to find all this well-written and very educational information in one place. It’s very important for non-Aboriginals to learn these things, and I hope provincial governments make changes so that students learn this kind of meaningful material in an age-appropriate way. I know I didn’t in grade school, and I think that has created a society of people who just don’t have the foundational understanding needed for reconciliation. So, âpihtawikosisân, thank you so much for this important resource; by writing it you are making Canada better. Non-Aboriginal readers can do the same if we respond with an open mind, which is an attitude every person can have even if there are some things he or she struggles with – it’s our choice.

  31. Ian Weniger says:

    Klahowya from the big saltchuck. I heard you on Unreserved. This blog is a blessing. I’m very surprised the last message was posted four years ago. I wonder if you heard about the Sawyee Aboriginal Safety orientation for the Island Health Authority. I listened to three sisters who facilitated these sessions speak on White Coat, Black Art. I look forward to finding the section in your blog on healthcare.

    • Unfortunately I haven’t talked much about healthcare yet; there are still so many topics to cover, including health, post-secondary education and finishing my piece on the issue of “corrupt chiefs”. Too many things for me to get to…maybe one day!

  32. Pingback: Reading Indigenous Authors -A Reading List for the Adventuresome | Catalyze your story, speak your truth

  33. Pingback: KAIROS Blanket Exercise kai·ros ˈkīräs/ noun: a propitious moment for decision or action. – Roots to Leaves

  34. Gayl says:

    Hi, I’m perusing your archives looking for a post about the funding process for reserves/bands that debunks the “grants from taxpayer dollars” myth, as well as describing the process of applying for and receiving funds from the federal government. I can’t find the post and I don’t recall the title. It was a detailed piece about the allocation of funds in the federal budget process, the time lag for receiving funds due to all the assessment and business reporting required, the hiring of vetted contractors, and the time crunch especially for northern communities who have a very narrow window of time to break ground and actually get the work done due to the weather and location. Thanks in advance!

  35. Douglas Miller says:

    bully wants to change school names from John A. Macdonald – i’m fed up with these people who want things their way Irregardless of the fact that they are trying to rewrite history all to no point other than to cause trouble and glorify themselves with attention..

    • Lol, look who’s talking? Your lot have completely rewritten history to puff yourselves up and justify genocide, eugenics, forced sterilization, rape, murder, theft…now that people are insisting on a more honest account, you cry yourselves hoarse. Well stock up on tissues. The time for your colonial lies is past.

  36. Pingback: 3. Can you imagine being a student in one of the residential schools? – LEST WE FORGET – Exploring the Truth Behind Residential Schools

Leave a Reply