Although stories are a universal art form, they hold a more significant role in Native American culture, and literature. This occurs due to the millennia spent in isolation from the rest of the world, and having stories as the main source of entertainment. Thomas King’s statement, “stories can control our lives,” is an important notion, because it embarks on the idea of molding the diseased into more interesting versions of themselves. The statement is prevalent in many pieces of literature which fuse reality into the imagination, and cause people to lose themselves in the fictitious realm. Native literature is all closely related, and they all hold messages within their stories that show their great culture; both the good and the bad. Story
“We live the Old Way” are the words that author, Catherine Knutsson, uses to introduce readers to the fascinating culture of the Métis Indians in her intriguing book, Shadows Cast by Stars (1). Set in an unspecified future, sixteen year old protagonist, Cassandra Mercredi, finds herself and her family fleeing from the mainland of UA and going to find refuge on “The Island” (Knutsson 21). They have been targeted because they are “marked by the precious Plague antibodies in [their Native American] blood” (Knutsson 1). According to Essentials of Young Adult Literature, Knutsson’s book is categorized as American Indian and Indigenous Literature (Short, Tomlinson, Lynch-Brown, and Johnson 177). After analyzing the text, the categorization is correct because the story is told from the perspective of the protagonist, Cassandra, who provides readers are given insight into the cultural beliefs and values of the Métis tribe. Additionally, her character communicates the traditional roles of men and women within the tribe, while integrating cultural details that provide authenticity to the story.
Traditions and old teachings are essential to Native American culture; however growing up in the modern west creates a distance and ignorance about one’s identity. In the beginning, the narrator is in the hospital while as his father lies on his death bed, when he than encounters fellow Native Americans. One of these men talks about an elderly Indian Scholar who paradoxically discussed identity, “She had taken nostalgia as her false idol-her thin blanket-and it was murdering her” (6). The nostalgia represents the old Native American ways. The woman can’t seem to let go of the past, which in turn creates confusion for the man to why she can’t let it go because she was lecturing “…separate indigenous literary identity which was ironic considering that she was speaking English in a room full of white professors”(6). The man’s ignorance with the elderly woman’s message creates a further cultural identity struggle. Once more in the hospital, the narrator talks to another Native American man who similarly feels a divide with his culture. “The Indian world is filled with charlatan, men and women who pretend…”
Canada has grown and matured a lot throughout the past years and has developed a great independent country and nation since she separated from Britain in 1867. For Canada today, she has changed drastically due to what she endured and experienced in the past years. First of all, Canada proved themselves to be autonomous due to their contributions to World War 1 and World War 2 as an independent country. Secondly, Canada has proved themselves to be accepting due to their actions towards the minority groups and creating a just society. Lastly, Canada has proven itself to be dependable due to her role during the cold war as a middle power. Therefore, Canada’s past has shaped her identity as a middle power because she has matured and grown as a
One of the themes used in the book is of racism towards the Natives. An example used in the book is of Edward Sheriff Curtis who was a photographer of 1900s. Curtis was interested in taking pictures of Native people, but not just any Native person. “Curtis was looking for the literary Indian, the dying Indian, the imaginative construct” (King, 2003; pp. 34). He used many accessories to dress up people up “who did not look as the Indian was supposed to look” (King, 2003; pp.34). He judged people based on his own assumptions without any knowledge of the group and their practices. Curtis reduced the identity of the Native Americans to a single iconic quintessential image of what Native meant to white society. The idea related to the image of this group of people during the 1900s consisted of racism in terms of the “real looking Indian”. This is not
Canada’s identity comes in many shapes and forms. Multiculturalism has been adopted and is at the forefront of Canadian identity. Following the Second World War, Canada’s multiculturalism policies became more acceptable and even successful in, not only accepting, but inviting multiple ethnic cultures in. In contrast to other countries, multiculturalism adaptation works for the Canadian culture. Canadian policies on multiculturalism have shifted over the past few decades; policies are now implemented for integration, not discrimination.
An emphasis on family is one of the central facets of Native American culture. There is a sense of community between Native American. Louise Erdrich, a Chippewa Indian herself, writes a gripping bildungsroman about a thirteen year old boy named Joe who experiences all forms of family on the Native American Reserve where he lives. He learns to deal with the challenges of a blood family, witnesses toxic family relationships, and experiences a family-like love from the members of the community. In her book, The Round House, Louise Erdrich depicts three definitions of the word family and shows how these relationships affect Joe’s development into an adult.
In the short story, Compatriots, one would read about Lucy and Hilda - two women who vastly differ from each other. Lucy has grown up on the reserve her whole life, where Hilda had just arrived from Germany and is seeking to observe “real Indian culture”. In comparison, David Goes to the Reserve also features two fairly diverse people of opposite cultures: the Aboriginal narrator of the story, and her Caucasian friend David.Within the story, David travels to a reserve to observe the culture of the First Nations people. Both stories contain wonder and excitement, but also presents a sense of culture that the First Nations have; it is this culture that the main characters struggle to grasp.
The wild and outdoors is such a special place to her and she speaks about how graceful it is and how she expects we all have stories like hers she’s explaining in this excerpt. She states in quotes, “Among the greatest of all gifts is to know our place.” (Barbara Kingsolver, 2002)
To begin explaining his viewpoint, Carter relates to his audience an account of when he and his wife traveled to the Arctic. What they saw was nothing short of breathtaking. The indigenous flora and fauna inspired awe with their brilliancy. The Carters witnessed the spectacle of a myriad of caribou migrating along with their newborns. He described this experience as "unforgettable and humbling" (Carter 3). This rendition invokes a majestic view of the wildlife in the Arctic Refuge. Carter makes use of this to move his audience to adopt the perspective that the unaffected region is precious.
Native Canadians play an important role in our national identity, unfortunately, the culture has been slowly dying out for the past century as advancing generations lose the spoken language. Less identify themselves as a true Native for the little knowledge they have of their culture, especially those who live in an urbanized city. One of the greatest contributing factors to this outcome were residential schools, a tragic and critical part of Canadian history.
What is Canada? What is a Canadian? Canada, to employ Voltaire's analogy, is nothing but “a few acres of snow.”. Of course, the philosopher spoke of New France, when he made that analogy. More recently, a former Prime Minister, Joe Clark, said that the country was nothing but a “community of communities”. Both these images have helped us, in one way or another, try to interpret what could define this country. On the other hand, a Canadian could be a beer, a hockey-playing beaver or even a canoe floating in a summer day's sunset. A Canadian could also be a “sovereigntyphobe”, refusing to see the liquefaction, albeit political, of the second largest country in the world.
Death by Landscape is a short story, written by Margaret Atwood in 1990. The Author is a Canadian novelist, poet and essayist as well as an environmental activist and feminist with many national and international awards for her writings and activities. She was born in Ottawa, Canada and started to write when she was six years old. At the age of 16 she already knew that she wants to become a professional writer. She grew up in the outback of northern Quebec, maybe that’s the reason for her love to nature and northern environments and this is what builds the frame of most of her works. The story was first published in 1991 and is a part of
When we talk about the “theme of survival” in literature, we should not forget the contribution of Margaret Atwood for the Canadian indentity. Margaret Atwood had written a literary criticism book named ‘Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature’. According to her theories, Margaret Atwood considers Canadian Literature as the expression of Canadian identity. According to this literature, Canadian identity has been defined by a fear of nature, by settler history and by unquestioned adherence to the community.
In North America, the classic voice of the colonizing person’s connectedness to nature and a has been the romantic individualist writing of wilderness.