Why Can’t You be Just be Like US?


Still thinking of Manitoba


The Thunder Bay area where I stayed my first night on short autumn jaunt has a deep history of racism and residential schools. It is beautiful country with a very dark past. After I arrived after my first day’s drive I checked into a hotel and immediately proceeded to a local restaurant. There were many indigenous looking people in the restaurant, but of course that is not always easy to discern who is first nations and who is not. It didn’t matter. At a table next to mine I watched two indigenous men with 2 young girls. Everyone was having a fine time. Life was good.


I recently watched a documentary called Colonization Road. I highly recommend it to one and all for some interesting points of view.

As one indigenous Canadian Chief of the Rainy River First Nation and writer, Al Hunter,  asked on the documentary, “We hear it a lot over and over—why can’t you just be like us? What does that mean?” The question of course is rhetorical. The answer is obvious. That means why don’t you assimilate with us? Become like us, because we are better than you. Those really are the suggestions of such a question. But  Hunter had an answer however in the film


“We want to be who we are. We want our culture to be strong. We want them to know that the past and the future and the present are actually alive. And we want respect, for wanting that for ourselves.


Is that too much to ask? Is it really so obvious that we whites are better than our indigenous neighbours?


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