Native Studies Critical Analysis Essay

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J.R. Miller’s article entitled “Victoria’s “Red Children”: The “Great White Queen Mother” and Native-Newcomer Relations in Canada” was published in July 2008 in the Native Studies Review, Vol. 17 Issue 1, p1 -23. The article examines how even though First Nations people suffered tremendously during Queen Victoria’s reign, they maintained their strong allegiance to the Crown mostly due to their kinship mentality. Miller notes that slowly but noticeably, by the end of Victoria’s reign the Great White Queen’s Red Children were beginning to adjust their rhetoric to use the Crown and imperial government at Westminster as counterweights against national and provincial governments within Canada that were oppressing them.
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The Government disapproved of the practise of owning land communally and imposed “peasant farming” upon the Aboriginals. Finally, a crusade was launched to eliminate some of their most sacred cultural and spiritual practices, including outlawing the potlatch, a sacred ritual of property redistribution. At the time of Victoria’s death, the Canadian government had attacked Aboriginal identity, education and child-rearing, governance, material life and spiritual practices.
Miller notes that in spite of all these attempts, the surprising fact is that First Nations did not react with anger or bitterness towards the Crown. They rarely resorted to violence or hostility towards the state or Crown, although they often resisted attempts at interference with rituals or their governance. In general, the First Nations’ attitudes towards the monarchy were always positive. They possibly would complain about the queen’s government but never about the queen herself. In spite of everything that was being done to them, there were a number of emotional statements of attachment to Victoria. For example, while trying to state their objection to the Gradual Civilization Act, chiefs in central British North America included a reference to the rumoured fall of the jurisdiction over Indian affairs: “If their Great Mother the Queen objects paying the Expenses of Maintaining the [Indian] Department they will consent to do so provided they are
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