Natives Aff

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Focus on terminology results in policy paralysis and perpetuates colonialism

ALFRED 1999 (Taiaiake, Professor of Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria, Peace Power Righteousness: An Indigenous Manifesto pg 83)

What does it mean to be called an 'Aboriginal' people? In Canada recently there has been a turn towards politically correct, non-offensive terminology that attempts to assuage the guilt of colonialism, but in fact it is only a cover for the state's continuing abuse of indigenous peoples. What good does it do indigenous people to be called 'Aboriginal' if the state continues to deny them legal recognition as the owners of their lands? What good does it do to be called a 'First Nation' (a popular term in some provinces of Canada) when the authority to govern is no more than that of a band council under the Indian Act? The only value in the word play is for white people, who do not have to face the racism built into the structure of their supposedly enlightened country. Natives face the same conditions and suffer the same abuses, except that now the problem is less obvious because, instead of being Indians governed by the state as wards under the Indian Act, they are now recognized as 'Aboriginal' peoples with an 'inherent right' to 'self-government'. Go to a reserve, look around, and ask yourself if Indians are any better of( because white society has relieved itself of its terminological burden. 'l> Intellectual dishonesty is one of the essential elements of colonialism. We need to stop believing the lies that have been perpetuated by Europeans to normalize the tempest of ruin they have inflicted on other peoples. Native people have become wrapped up in these lies; now they are hostage to the status quo, unable to move.

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