Module 2: Anti-Indigenous Racism
Welcome to Module 2: Anti-Indigenous Racism!
In Canada, First Nations people, Métis and Inuit peoples comprise under 5% of the total population. Statistics indicate that these groups have a shorter life expectancy, higher mortality and morbidity rates, and lower education levels as compared with the non-Indigenous population (Tjepkema et al. 3). The data reflects a history of Indigenous-settler relations codified in legally binding treaties and laws calculated to extend the state’s dominion over Indigenous territories, expand White settlement, and extractive activities. There was always a wrinkle in these aspirations to control natural resources, namely the original inhabitants who were conceived as the “Indian problem.” Problems demand solutions, which come in shape-shifting forms centred on enfranchisement and assimilation. Much has been learned about both Indian residential schools and the child welfare system that expanded as the last schools closed in the 1990s. Much less is understood about the more than 600 treaties, governance structures, and land management frameworks that inform Nation-to-Nation relations and economic development.
This module attempts to bring these two narratives together. Doing so raises an uncomfortable question – is there a risk that equity, diversity and inclusion discourses will become the latest in a series of harmful and unjust policies that attempt to integrate Indigenous peoples into Canada’s body politic, or will it pluralize organizations by creating space for the expression of different ways of knowing?
*Note that this module is not an exhaustive learning material. The needs and issues within the community differ amongst the identities and are complex. This short module does not have the entire scope to address all of them. However, it is the first few steps to an ongoing journey, as it is a source that will provide relevant resources and knowledge with a focus on the context of employment. It is important to continue the unlearning and learning of damaging discourses that perpetuate the marginalization of people who belong to or have intersected identities within the Indigenous community.
By the end of this module, you should be able to:
- Identify the historical and contemporary legal, political-economic and social structures that perpetuate anti-Indigenous racism.
- Explain why anti-Indigenous racism is different from forms of oppression and discrimination experienced by other equity-seeking groups.
- Enact five practical steps to “look again” and challenge anti-Indigenous racism.
- Describe types of discriminatory practices in the workplace, including identity fraud, tokenism and microaggressions.
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