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Race Ethnicit y an d Education , Vol . 5, No . 2, 2002

Race Ethnicit y an d Education , Vol . 5, No . 2, 2002 Aborigina l

Aborigina l an d Indigenou s People ’s Resistance , th e Internet , an d Educatio n

J UDY M. I SEKE-BARNES Departmen t of Sociolog y and Equit y Studie s in Education , Ontari o Institut e fo r Studie s in Education , Universit y of Toronto , 252 Bloor St, Toronto , Ontario , Canada M5 S


A BSTRACT Thi s articl e examine s exchange s in an Interne t newsgrou p whic h is focuse d on issue s pertainin g to Aborigina l peoples . Th e examinatio n of thes e exchange s highlights cyberspac e as site s wher e colonia l misunderstanding s are eviden t and resistanc e to thes e dominan t discourse s is possible. Issues of pedagogy an d Aborigina l people s on th e Interne t are explored. Give n tha t hom e and school us e of th e Interne t is eve r increasing , it is of growin g importanc e for educator s and academic s to conside r way s tha t cultura l group s are represente d in this context . Interne t texts , jus t as texts , books, and medi a befor e them , produc e cultura l narratives in regar d to Aborigina l peoples. Ho w are culture s represented ? Wh o control s thes e representations ? This articl e provide s examples of resistanc e to colonia l discourse s about Aborigina l peoples bu t caution s that ther e are risks wit h th e increasin g commercialisatio n of th e Interne t that dominan t discourse s migh t prevail .

Cyberspac e … exist s no t so much as a discernabl e entit y bu t as a ‘ site ’ , in th e mos t metaphorical sense , of cultural , social , an d of course technologica l tension . Thi s tensio n is productiv e … It ha s ushere d in ne w way s of understandin g agency , social interaction , an d identity . (Crane , 2000 , p. 88)

Cyberspac e an d electronic medi a (new s groups , lis t servs , computer conferences, bulleti n boards , we b pages ) ar e sites fo r representations an d exploration s of identity , community , an d culture . Electronic ‘ conversations ’ provid e sites where people writ e to each other expressin g opposing an d more convergen t viewpoints . In what discourse s do cyberspace participant s an d producers/ users engage ? Wha t images , counter-images , understandings , an d refutations ar e taken up in these sites? In cyberspace, ho w ar e culture s represented? Wh o controls these representations? Is cyberspace an important cultura l sit e fo r education ? In the article , ‘ stream s of discussion ’ ar e presented which ar e draw n from th e new s grou p alt.nativ e unde r th e subjec t line s ‘ Why di d I eve n bother to post to yo u al l anywa y I am no t a wann a be … ’ an d ‘ Sweatlodge s fo r No n Natives? ’ Thes e account s ar e shared to rais e questions abou t cyberspac e in the ongoin g publi c an d

ISS N 1361-3324 print; 1470-109X online /02/ 040171-28 Ó 2002 Taylo r & Franci s Ltd DOI: 10.1080/13613320220139617

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academi c discourse s surroundin g ke y issue s of Aborigina l identity , ownership, an d cultura l appropriation . For, as Girou x explains , we liv e in :

a cultur e in which the production of electronic informatio n radicall y alter s traditiona l notion s of time, community , an d history whil e simultaneousl y blurrin g th e distinctio n between realit y an d image . … in the ag e of instan t information , globa l networking , an d biogenetic s the old distinctio n be- tween hig h an d popula r cultur e collapse s as th e historicall y an d sociall y constructed natur e of meanin g ca n no longe r be privilege d by universaliz - in g claim s to history, truth , or class . Al l cultur e is worthy of investigation , an d no aspec t of cultura l productio n ca n escap e it s own history within sociall y constructed hierarchies of meaning . (1988 , p. 163 )

This article examine s sites in cyberspace, examinin g discussion s of: (1 ) th e Internet an d Aborigina l peoples; (2 ) writin g resistance ; (3 ) questionin g an d resistin g classi cations ; (4 ) cultura l appropriatio n an d traditions ; (5 ) spiritualit y and tradi - tions ; an d (6 ) pedagogy , educationa l institution s an d th e Internet .

Th e Interne t and Aborigina l Peoples

Th e increasin g us e of Internet communication s suc h as bulletin boards , lis t servs, an d cha t rooms abou t an d by indigenou s peoples ha s th e potential for impac t on th e live s of indigenou s peoples . In Canad a alon e ther e ar e more than 10,00 0 website s focuse d on indigenou s people (Department of India n an d Northern Development [DIAND], 1998) , so cyberspace has the potential to pla y an important role in representing an d perhap s containin g indigenou s people in Canada . In North Amer- ica , NATIVENET an d it s late r relate d lis t serv s calle d NATIVE-L , NATCHAT , NAT-HLTH , an d NAT-ED U wer e generate d by Trujillo , whic h formed a basi s fo r man y othe r nativ e discussio n group s on the Interne t (Zimmerman et al., 2000, p. 72). Americ a OnLin e (AOL ) create d a cha t roo m calle d Blu e Snake ’s Lodge : ‘ Blu e Snak e was an onlin e “ chief,” supposedl y Eastern Shawnee , who devote d hi s time to teachin g non-Indian s Nativ e America n spiritualit y an d healing ’ (Zimmerman et al., 2000 , p. 73) . Blu e Snak e would ‘ adopt’ chat room participant s as members of a cla n an d tribe. Eventually , indigenou s peoples learne d of this room, entered it , chal - lenge d Blu e Snake ’s ‘ teachings ’ and disrupte d the roo m to suc h an exten t that som e were thrown off AOL. To sto p this appropriatio n an d misrepresentation, the thre e Shawne e nation s sen t a resolution to AOL. Blu e Snak e confessed that he was no t a tribal member an d admitte d that Shawne e ceremonies or those of othe r indigenou s people s that ha d bee n par t of hi s pan-India n approac h were no t for publi c consump- tion . As Martin (1995 , p. 108 ) wrote in regar d to this incident , ‘ there ’ s an uncross- abl e lin e in both cyberspac e an d the rea l world, a lin e that separate s triba l religiou s rite s fro m the commerce of everyda y life ’ . Wher e doe s cyberspace t in th e ongoing public an d academi c discours e sur - roundin g ke y issue s of Aborigina l identity , ownership, an d cultura l appropriation ? Tod d (1996) , a Cre e woman an d artis t from Canada , emphasise s that Aborigina l world view s an d lif e mus t nd a plac e in cyberspac e if thes e spaces ar e to be

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bene cia l to Aborigina l peoples, particularl y considerin g th e impac t of action s no w fo r seve n generation s in th e future . Who wil l hav e access to creat e representations? How wil l people s be represented an d take n up by Aborigina l an d non-Aborigina l people s if onl y dominan t image s of subjugate d subject s ar e presented? Wha t group s wil l be exclude d an d represented in simplisti c ways ? Wha t frame s of reference wil l be use d to interpret what is on th e Internet? Will cyberspace participant s engag e in discourse s by ‘ conceptualizing , inscribing , an d interactin g wit h “ others” on term s no t of their choosing ; in makin g them [indigenou s people] int o plian t objects an d silence d subjects of our [dominant ] script s and scenarios ’ (Comarof f & Comaroff, 1991 , p. 15) ? Will cyberspace participant s wh o hav e power, access, an d control assum e the capacit y to represent indigenou s people s usin g these representations to serv e the dominan t at th e expens e of all others? Geral d Vizeno r (1972 , 1992) , a mixed-bloo d Ojibway scholar , describe s the term India n as an invention . One of Vizenor ’s act s of resistanc e to this inventio n an d dominan t stereotype is hi s us e of ‘indian ’ rathe r than India n an d hi s us e of ‘ oshki anishinabe ’ whic h is an Ojibway expression which roughl y mean s ‘ we th e people of mother earth ’ an d either refers speci call y to the Ojibway people or to al l indigenou s peoples. He explain s that :

Th e dominan t societ y ha s created a homogenize d histor y of triba l people fo r a televisio n culture . Bein g an india n is a heav y burde n to th e oshki anishinabe becaus e whit e people kno w mor e abou t th e indian they invente d than anyone . Th e experts an d cultura l hobbyists neve r mis s a chanc e to authenticat e the scraps of romanti c history dropped by white traveler s through india n countr y centurie s ago . Whit e people ar e foreve r projecting their dream s of a perfect lif e through th e inventio n of th e indian — an d the n they expect an oshki anishinabe to no t only ful ll an inventio n bu t to authenticat e third-han d informatio n abou t th e triba l past . (1972 , pp. 15 –


Furthe r to this discussion , Gai l Valaskaki s (1993 ) describe s ‘ a discours e whic h constructs what outsiders— an d Indians — kno w abou t nativ e people s in representa- tion s of Indianness : triba l an d traditional , other an d unequal . In th e words of Deborah Doxtator, ‘ People growin g up in th e 1950 ’ s and 60 ’ s were conditione d to believ e that “ Rea l Indianness ” ha d something to do wit h no t talkin g ver y much, neve r smiling , wearin g fringe d clothing , bein g mystical , bein g poor, ridin g horses’ (Valaskakis , 1993 , p. 159) . North America ’s Aborigina l peoples continu e to be represented as ‘ authentic ’ voice s in popula r discourse s an d medi a (Goldie , 1995) . Considerabl e an d divers e theoretical work in post-colonial an d anti-racis t theories an d cultural an d indigenou s studie s (Said , 1978 ; Ashcroft et al., 1995 ; Hall , 1997 ; Tuhiwai Smith , 1999 ; Bac k & Solomos, 2000 ) ha s examine d the process by whic h colonised peoples continu e to be represented as ‘ other’ , in literar y an d popula r texts, in cultural practices, an d in institutiona l an d socia l structures an d th e effects bot h on theoretical understanding s of the world an d on dail y life . North America n Aborigi - na l literatur e als o challenge s dominance , misrepresentation, control politics , an d genocid e of Aborigina l people (Doxtator, 1988a,b ; Vizenor, 1992 ; Mercredi & Turpel,

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1993 ; Maracle , 1996 ; Deloria , 1998 ; Graveline , 1998 ; Gun n Allen , 1998 ; Stiffarm, 1998 ; Churchill , 1999 ; Battiste , 2000) . Al l of these literature s ai d in theorising Internet texts which involv e people s fro m aroun d th e world.

Writing Resistance

Resistanc e to misrepresentatio n is a common practice amongs t world indigenou s people s facin g stereotype an d bia s (Doxtator, 1988b ; Valaskaskis , 1993 ; Tuhiwa i Smith , 1999) . On e form of resistanc e is ‘ writin g back ’ (Ashcrof t et al., 1989) through whic h peoples outsid e the centre of imperia l power express their difference. Ashcroft et al . signa l that settler societ y ha s taken up this writin g of differenc e in colonies whil e suppressin g indigenou s writers , the origina l peoples, from thes e regions . They sugges t that ‘locke d int o th e process of appropriatio n through whic h Indigenou s group s write is an alternativ e metaphysic , as well as a politica l rage , whic h ha s proved a powerful creativ e stimulant ’ (p . 145) . Blaese r examine s Geral d Vizenor ’ s extensiv e work an d characterises his :

endeavor s to salvag e th e trul y timeless element s of the tribal , to relinquis h to history the nonessential accoutrements of the past, an d to teach the way s of surviva l in the ne w India n wars– thos e media-driven , intellectua l an d verba l skirmishes he call s th e ‘cultural word wars’ . Survival , in Vizenor’ s view , is keenl y dependen t on identity ; identit y is formed through languag e an d literature ; languag e an d literatur e ar e drive n by mone y an d poli - tics . … In hi s depictions of what he call s th e ‘ Cultura l Word War s between Whites an d Indian s in th e New Fu r Trade ’ [Vizenor, 1978] , … Wit h hi s ow n writin g he ha s als o entered int o the mids t of th e con ict. (1996 , pp. 38– 39)

Tuhiwa i Smit h (1999 ) suggest s that African-America n women an d Maori women ‘ talk back ’ , ‘ bac k chat’ or ‘answe r back ’ in their writing . Sh e identi es in Cherry l Smith ’ s (1994 , p. 13 ) argument s that ‘colonialism , racis m an d cultural imperialis m do no t occur onl y in society, outsid e of the gate s of universities ’ . Thi s writin g bac k an d writin g to ourselves :

is no t simpl y an inversio n of how we hav e learne d to write academically . Th e different audience s to who m we spea k make s the tas k somewhat dif cult . Th e scope of the literatur e whic h we us e in our work contribute s to a different framin g of the issues . Th e oral art s an d othe r forms of expressio n set ou r landscap e in a different fram e of reference. Ou r under - standing s of the academi c discipline s within whic h we hav e bee n traine d als o fram e our approaches. Eve n th e us e of pronoun s suc h as ‘I’ an d ‘ we’ ca n caus e dif cultie s whe n writin g for severa l audiences , becaus e whil e it ma y be acceptable no w in academi c writing , it is no t alway s acceptable to indigenou s audiences . (Tuhiwa i Smith , 1999 , p. 37 )

bell hooks describe s resistanc e writin g an d speakin g amongs t women of color:

Fo r us , true speakin g is no t solel y an expressio n of creativ e power; it is an

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ac t of resistance, a politica l gestur e that challenge s politic s of dominatio n that would rende r us nameles s an d voiceless . As such, it is a courageou s act— as such, it represents a threat . To those who wiel d oppressive power, that which is threatenin g mus t necessaril y be wiped out, annihilated , silenced . (1988 , p. 8)

Lee Maracle , a mixed-rac e Nativ e woman fro m western Canada , describe s th e intentio n of writin g he r book, I am Woman, was:

To releas e me fro m the chain s wit h whic h I boun d myself, chain s which were welded to me by a history neither I no r my ancestors created. Bondag e is paralyzin g an d removin g chain s is painful . When th e chain s ar e boun d to yo u by interna l attitude s an d belief s created by externa l world conditions , removin g the m is bot h painfu l an d humbling . Th e text is an emotional one , free of th e humour an d jo y that punctuate d th e struggl e fo r bein g whic h this book represents. (1996 , p. VIII)

These texts sugges t that resistanc e writing enable s indigenou s people s to express difference, to nam e an d identif y appropriation , engag e in cultura l word wars, challeng e domination , rais e oppositional consciousness , tak e politica l action , an d fre e us fro m bondag e we hold internall y create d by an externa l world. Thi s resistanc e is tie d to emotion an d to identity. As Hal l (2000 , p. 144 ) explains , ‘ I tal k abou t identit y here as a poin t at which , on the one hand , a whole se t of ne w theoretical discourse s intersect an d where, on the other, a whole ne w set of cultura l practice s emerge’ .


Thi s articl e is base d on a large r researc h programme involvin g a series of si x studie s whic h focus on discursiv e context s of Interne t conversation s an d websites abou t an d amongs t Aborigina l people s focusing on issue s of identity , community , cultur e an d pedagogy . Tw o of these studie s examin e pedagogica l issue s in use s of the Interne t in educationa l setting s by non-indigenou s studen t teachers, teachers an d their student s as it is relate d to indigenou s peoples. The y als o examin e collaborativ e Internet us e by Aborigina l an d non-Aborigina l educators, First Nation s voice s on the Internet , Aborigina l teachers’ negotiatio n of con ictin g an d ambiguou s role assumptions , expectations , an d obligation s on the Internet , an d Aborigina l educa - tors’ issue s of identity , community , culture , an d pedagogy . Thi s articl e is situate d within this large r researc h programm e as an introductory examinatio n of identit y issue s an d resistanc e writin g in publi c conversation s on the Internet . Th e Interne t text s share d in this articl e ar e no t take n as merely individualise d account s bu t rathe r as re ections of cultura l narrative s of an d abou t Aborigina l peoples. These account s help us understan d cyberspace as site s of knowledg e production wher e dominan t discourse s an d resistanc e text s by Aborigina l peoples ar e evident . This articl e draw s dat a fro m a stud y which examine s news groups , lis t serv s an d computer conferences which focus on native , India n or Aborigina l people . Conver -

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sations were collecte d fro m eigh t publi c sites (site s wer e selected that were widel y availabl e as they were deeme d to be mos t likel y to be accessed by larg e number s of Internet participant s an d therefore hav e the potential fo r broad impact) ove r a six-mont h perio d in 1995 – 96 . Man y of these conversation s took plac e ove r an extende d perio d an d include d multipl e participants . Th e methodology fo r dat a collectio n fro m new s group s wa s rs t to identif y new s group s (whic h ar e publi c message s availabl e through a central server an d accessibl e by a larg e numbe r of users of the Internet) abou t nativ e or Aborigina l peoples. Th e dat a in news group s an d lis t serv s ar e ‘streams of discussion ’ whic h were down- loade d an d organised . Theme s an d storyline s were analyse d an d include d Aborigina l knowledge , language , culture , traditions , pedagogy , an d identit y as well as transla - tion of identit y in teaching , media , an d work, lan d control an d autonomy , curricu - lu m control, an d changin g role s an d expectations. Brie f excerpt s ar e extracted fro m ‘streams of discussion ’ fro m th e news grou p alt.native . Thi s sit e was selected as it ha d a wid e variet y of topics , activ e discussions , an d extende d discussion s which coul d be traced fo r a perio d of time. By analysin g the discussion s within this new s grou p it was possible to determine th e follow - in g themes an d storylines : identit y issue s (eg. questions abou t authenticity) , languag e issue s (eg . learnin g of Aborigina l languages , teachin g an Aborigina l lan - guage , Englis h as a second language) , politica l an d constitutiona l issue s (eg . self- government , lan d claims) , indigenou s an d non-Aborigina l spiritualit y (eg. Shamanism) , Aborigina l tradition s an d ceremonie s (eg . sweat lodges) , Northern experiences an d communities, as well as issue s more speci c to particula r Aborigina l group s (eg . Ipperwash lan d occupation) . Excerpts wer e extracte d fro m th e alt.nativ e new s grou p unde r the subjec t line s ‘ Why di d I eve n bother to post to yo u all anywa y I am no t a wann a be … ’ an d ‘ Sweatlodge s fo r Non Natives? ’ These excerpts wer e selecte d becaus e the y examine d identit y issues , highlighte d educationa l an d curricula r issues , an d provide d example s of resistanc e writing . Th e excerpt s focus on issue s of authenticity , inclusiveness , tradition , an d educatio n an d provide insigh t int o the functionin g of these publi c new s group s in raisin g important questions abou t pedagogy , particularl y in regar d to Aborigina l people .


Th e term s Indian , Native , Firs t Nations , First Peoples, Aborigina l an d Indigenou s ar e often use d interchangeabl y by participant s in cyberspace. These terms collec t together divers e peoples unde r a singl e expressio n thus denyin g differences whic h hav e arise n through politica l historie s connecte d to colonialis m an d essentialisin g practices. Th e preferred practice of referring to indigenou s persons fro m North America by th e speci c term use d by th e people to describ e themselve s (e.g . in th e Ojibway languag e Anishinabe ) is no t possible here as participant s do no t us e thes e terms . Participant s in the alt.nativ e grou p us e variou s terms which ar e re ected in their texts. Th e author, as a default , in talkin g abou t rst peoples from North

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America use s Aboriginal . Th e term indigenou s here is use d to refer to indigenou s people s fro m aroun d the world.

Introducing the Alt.Native New s Grou p

A post presente d to the Alt.Nativ e new s grou p as par t of the ongoin g dialogu e

examine s who is participatin g in this group . Thi s is an actua l excerpt so line s an d spacing , spelling , an d punctuatio n ar e retaine d fro m the origina l althoug h I hav e adde d emphasis (tex t in italic ) to ai d in discussio n of th e text .

Le t me be blun t about the people in this group . There ar e the ‘ wann a be’ s’ wh o hav e almos t no india n in them , wh o wan t to ‘ lear n more abou t your wonderful, earth-lovin g cultur e becaus e of my guil t fo r what my white ancestor s di d to your people’.

Th e second typ e of people in this newsgrou p ar e the self-centered India n type s who thin k (a ) their ow n triba l suffering s is the alph a an d omega of the India n experience, (b ) anyon e wh o want s to understan d more abou t their experienc e is a ‘ wannabe ’, an d (c ) anyon e who claim s an y india n bloo d in them whatsoever shoul d simpl y ignor e that india n blood an d wal k away .

Of course th e third par t is the (mostly ) silen t majority, some of whom sympathis e [ sic ] with your plight.

Bil l engage s in a process here in which he essentialise s difference in the productio n

of th e ‘other’ , xin g divers e people s int o a classi catio n system with three categories:

(1 ) native ; (2 ) mixe d rac e (but non-native) ; an d (3 ) non-native . These reduction s of the complexit y an d diversit y of participant s denie s the diversit y of hundred s of Aborigina l group s in North America (includin g th e Metis Nation s in Canada , whic h

ar e de ne d by governmen t as mixed-rac e Aborigina l peoples) and th e diversit y of participants . These reduction s als o x nativenes s as a particula r ‘ India n type ’, denyin g that man y Aborigina l peoples, whether include d or exclude d by govern - mental de nition s of indianness , ar e mixe d race. Further, these text s engag e in an authenticit y discours e (Minh-ha , 1989 ; Grif ths , 1994 ) base d on triba l inclusion , som e notion of suffering, an d bloo d quantum . In this text Bill , engage s in a discussio n of ‘ Essentia l differenc e [which ] allow s

those wh o rely on it to rest reassuringl y on it s gamu t of xe d notions . An y mutatio n

in identity , in essence , in regularit y … poses a problem , if no t a threat, in term s of

classi catio n an d control. If yo u can ’ t locate th e other, ho w ar e yo u to locat e yourself’ (Minh-ha , 1995 , p. 217) . Bil l use s a discussio n of others to locat e himself

as a membe r of the sympathetic majority, i.e . dominan t non-native .

One ’ s sens e of sel f is alway s mediate d by the imag e one has of th e other. (I hav e aske d mysel f at times whether a super cia l knowledge of the other, in term s of som e stereotype, is no t a way of preservin g a super cia l image of oneself.) (Crapanzano , 1985 , p. 54 )

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Bil l is als o caugh t in th e us / them phenomeno n (a s eviden t in th e itali c text ) all too common in discussion s of cultur e (hooks, 1994 ; Ng et al., 1995 ; Ng, 1997) .

Questioning and Resistin g Classi cations

In reference to Bill ’ s text conside r Minh-h a (1995 , p. 217) , who asks , ‘what abou t those with hyphenated identitie s an d hybrid realities? ’ Sh e questions th e dividin g lin e between outsider s an d insider s an d challenge s us to reconside r de nitions . Wha t ar e the dividin g lines ? Who is inside / outsid e of these lines ? Bu t classi catio n system s of indigenou s people s aboun d at man y level s throughout the world. In Canad a ‘ there ar e seventee n different classi cation s of Indians . [And ] Th e India n Ac t stil l make s distinction s between “ Indian ” an d “ person” ’ (Mercredi & Turpel, 1993 , p. 24). Currently , ther e ar e band s wh o ar e negotiatin g their lan d claims , one consequence of which ma y be to los e statu s or to chang e status. Minh-h a (1991 ) describe s a paralle l exampl e in which Sout h African s were raciall y categorised int o nin e groups . Classi cation s coul d be change d if one coul d prove incorrect categori - sation. As a result, som e whites becam e colored, coloreds white , black s colored, etc. In Canada , as thes e lan d claim s proceed, ar e these ‘ Indians ’ becoming ‘ white ’? In the past , ‘ Indian ’ women who marrie d ‘ white’ men wer e strippe d of their statu s in Canada . Di d they stop bein g ‘Indian ’ ? Som e of thes e women ar e no w bein g reinstate d unde r Bil l C-3 1 after women use d lega l mean s to challeng e the sexis t structur e of th e India n Act , whic h wa s use d to exclud e nativ e women who marrie d non-nativ e me n bu t maintaine d nativ e me n who marrie d non-nativ e women an d include d non-nativ e women wh o marrie d nativ e men an d their descendant s (Lawrence, 1999 ; Stevenson , 1999 ; Excerpts from the India n Act , 1876) . Th e situatio n mean s that thos e de ne d as statu s Indian s in Canad a ar e sometimes descendant s of both nativ e an d non-nativ e peoples. Give n that women ar e no w bein g reinstate d to India n statu s by federal government , ar e these women resumin g ‘ Indian-ness ’ ? Gail , a responden t to the alt.nativ e news group , questione d th e distinc t classi catio n of Aborigina l peoples in an exampl e of resistanc e to discourse s whic h classif y an d separate . Gai l suggest s that bein g mixe d blood is a realit y fo r indigenou s people:

What yo u sa y is honorable for thos e who hav e pur e blood, bu t what of those lik e me , who hav e mor e than one rac e in their blood? I’ m 2 Cherokee (raise d to believ e I was dar k Irish) , an d th e other hal f is all kind s of stuff— bu t mostly Danish . So — what kin d of advic e do yo u hav e fo r those of us wh o ar e mixe d blood? I’ ve neve r bee n to a sweat becaus e I have felt in my hear t that I shoul d no t do that. I do belong to a grou p that put s on a pow wo w every Labo r Day weekend (didn ’ t mak e it up ther e this year) , an d wear a medicin e ba g that was give n to me in lov e by another Cherokee woman, an d a teardrop cor n necklac e that was give n to me by one of the elder s fro m OK a yea r ago , but my spiritua l sid e is Christia n …

Gail :) Mixed-rac e Aborigina l people often face exclusion s from Aborigina l circle s becaus e


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the y canno t claim status or treat y rights . Man y of those exclude d hav e been women in the past . Th e tigh t control of who ca n cal l themselves India n is maintaine d through the India n Act in Canad a an d through bloo d quantu m in th e US A (Merskin , 1996 ; Carter , 1998 ; Lawrence, 1999) . Th e tigh t contro l of identit y that Aborigina l people hav e experience d alon g with th e inabilit y to control their ow n grou p membership hav e created division s amongs t indigenou s peoples— a divisive - nes s re ected in these Interne t conversations . Resistanc e writin g is eviden t in furthe r excerpts in which there were man y written challenge s to Bill ’ s attempt to classif y the group . On e of the m came fro m Dave , who questione d whether the locatio n of the subject an d subject identitie s coul d be classi ed or characterised on ethni c grounds . He als o questioned Bil l an d hi s self-assigne d role as classi er:

I’ m gla d you r [ sic ] abl e to subdivid e everyon e in this group an d labe l them so nicel y (e.g . assholes) , accordin g to you r own opinio n (whic h is apparentl y shape d by you r experienc e wit h ‘ no les s than 5 assholes’ who yo u fee l ame d you) . Quit e a feat .

Mayb e as we pos t yo u ca n le t us kno w whic h grou p each of us belong s to in you r sag e judgment . I don ’ t kno w ho w we ever though t we were individual s of widel y varyin g backgrounds , experiences, and opinion s be- fore yo u arrive d here .

Sollor s (1986 ) suggest s that a prevalen t practice is to de ne ethnicit y as otherness. Th e perspective of ‘ otherness’ changes , dependin g on wh o is speaking . Goldi e (1995 , p. 234 ) describe s a paradoxica l situatio n in which ‘ Th e white Canadia n looks at the Indian . Th e India n is Other an d therefore alien . Bu t th e India n is indigenou s an d therefore canno t be alien . So the Canadia n mus t be alien . Bu t ho w ca n th e Canadia n be alie n within Canada? ’ Attempts at resolvin g this conundru m includ e incorporatio n of th e Other int o mainstrea m cultur e in super cia l way s ‘ through beade d moccasin s an d name s lik e Mohaw k Motors’ (p . 234) , in more sophisticated way s through literatur e which replicates an d represents (Mudrooroo , 1995 ; Minh - Ha , 1989) , or by rejecting the Other by assumin g that th e country bega n with th e arriva l of white s (Goldie , 1995) . Who is inside / outside ? Mixed-rac e people disrup t eas y classi cations . The y ar e handle d by Bil l as if the y ar e wannabes . Contrar y to Bill ’ s usage , th e usua l de nitio n of wannab e is people who hav e no historic clai m to be nativ e bu t who begin claimin g to be nativ e (sometime s referred to as ‘ new-ag e indians ’ ). Th e most prominent current exampl e in uence d by a recent featur e lm is that of Grey Owl, wh o bille d himsel f as a Canadia n Indian , creatin g a boys’ clu b whose structure in uence d th e creation of the scoutin g movement by Lor d Bade n Powell. He was of Italia n descen t wit h no connectio n to Canadia n indigenou s peoples (Doxtator , 1988b ; Francis ,


Bil l include s in ‘ wann a be ’ people wh o hav e been classi ed by government s to be non-nativ e (usuall y base d on gende r bia s in the India n Act— se e Lawrence, 1999 ; Stevenson , 1999 ) bu t wh o maintai n that the y ar e nativ e through acts of

180 J. M. Iseke Barne s

self-determinis m (Royal Commissio n on Aborigina l Peoples, 1997 ; McIvor, 1999) . Bil l does no t distinguis h mixed-rac e Aborigina l people fro m non-native s posin g as Aborigina l people s bu t instea d chastised mixed-rac e people as havin g littl e ‘ India n in them ’, presumabl y referring to blood quantum . Self-determinatio n apparentl y is no t on Bill ’ s agend a as self-appointe d classi er.

Cultural Appropriation, Traditions, and Spirituality

‘ Wannabe ’ discourse s continue in th e conversatio n bu t late r ar e taken up fro m an Aborigina l perspective in which questions ar e aske d abou t acts of cultura l appropri- atio n of tradition s an d concerns abou t wh o is appropriat e to shar e in traditions . J Twoshadows ’s text appear s rst , followe d by Jack ’ s response intersperse d in J Twoshadows’ s text (whic h appear s wit h . at the beginnin g of each line )


It seem s as if th e nuagers , wannabe s an d assorted faddist s hav e trul y set


abou t tryin g to trivializ e one of ou r most sacred an d bel;ove d [sic]


traditions , Th e Sacre d Ston e Lodge . I am awar e othe r People s us e


variation s of th e Swea t bu t I am talkin g abou t Native Sweat s here. There


seem to be too man y no n nativ e people partakin g an d eve n performing our


ancien t practices . Personally if I were no n nativ e an d if I were

Yo u ca n onl y control who participate s in you r ow n rituals . You can ’t legislat e what other people do . I thin k faddis m is sill y in general , bu t remember that copyin g IS a form of attery.


intereste d in th e cultur e I would sho w my respect by REFRAINING from


satisfyin g my ow n desire s an d leav e the First Peoples sacred tradition s


to themselves. I am mor e gratefu l (an d impressed) when I se e a no n native


Brother or Siste r who doe s no t presume to wear hawk feathers or Eagl e or


join in MIXE D (sheesh ) or unmixe d sweats or eve n go aroun d jabberin g in


LakotaDakota u Nakota. Wh y is it al l these White People go aroun d

I don ’t wear an y jewelry, feathers, etc., I jus t don ’t car e to , bu t I do have som e natura l objects (m y bea r claw , e.g. ) which mean a lo t to me an d my spirituality . I don ’ t subscribe to an y particula r sect of beliefs , bu t wh o ar e yo u to presum e that what I fee l is no t right ?


impersonatin g ou r Wester n Cousin s so unmercifally . Th e Wompiis have


stole n ou r lan d an d ou r country , no w they wan t our Cultur e too.

In further examinin g issue s of cultura l appropriatio n of traditions , versu s copyin g as attery, le t us conside r what cultura l tradition s migh t mean to Aborigina l peoples.

Aboriginal People on th e Interne t 181

Ebe r Hampton (1995 , p. 22) , a member of the Chickasa w Nation , describe s on th e

da y afte r engagin g in a sweat lodg e ceremony som e of the understanding s of lif e he

is abl e to visio n an d valu e through this ceremonial wisdom . On this earl y sprin g day ,

he trudge d through grimy , dirt y snow bank s an d noticed fo r the rs t tim e that ‘ th e

sunligh t seemed to mee t it s own re ectio n insid e me’ an d noticed als o as he kicke d through th e dirt y sno w wit h childis h jo y that:

Looking wit h ne w eyes, I sa w that th e particle s of dir t an d soot ha d gathered th e sun ’s warmth an d melted tin y cavern s int o th e sno w bank , tin y jewelled cavern s wit h rainbo w colours on their walls . I began to smile at myself — ndin g rainbow s in the ca r shit — an d then I laughe d ou t loud . There froze n int o th e snow was a ve dolla r bill. I chippe d it out , folde d it int o my shirt pocket, an d continue d up the hill . In th e mail roo m at wor k I picke d up th e ne w issu e of Accessio n Note s an d notice d an article by Gae l Hig h Pine , ‘ Th e Grea t Spiri t in the Moder n World ’ (1973) . He r rst paragrap h grippe d my heart, ‘It is no t important to preserve our traditions , it is important to allo w our tradition s to preserve us.’ An d the n th e na l paragrap h … ‘ My children , there is no modern world, ther e is no India n world. Ther e is only th e Grea t Spirit ’ s world and th e sam e Creator who mad e the beautifu l forests trace s th e cracks in the sidewalk s an d put s rainbow s in th e oil slick s on city streets’ . (Hampton , 1995 , p. 22 )

It is this sens e of allowin g tradition s to preserve us an d to recognis e that tradition s chang e an d tak e ne w forms in today ’s societies that migh t be characterised in som e discussion s as nativ e essentialis m bu t here is characterised by Hampto n as spiritual - ity , a par t of lif e no t commonly discusse d in academi c discussions . Copying , as Jac k suggests , ma y be a form of attery for some bu t nativ e people s hav e endure d centuries of assimilationis t policie s an d countless act s of cultura l appropriatio n unde r colonia l government s an d practices (Crosb y 1991 ; Franci s 1992 ; Deloria , 1998) . J Twoshadows’ s text is an ac t of resistanc e to discourse s whic h continu e the colonialis t practice s of appropriation . Jack ’ s response questions

J Twoshadows’ s perspective . Jac k draw s upon a discours e in which he positions

nativ e resistanc e as abou t legislatio n an d control an d then suggest s that it is a personal set of feelings , no t a cultural group , which shoul d guid e action . Give n that there ar e no clea r limit s on one se t of cultura l values , norms , an d practice s in regar d to another set , most group s engag e in som e for m of cultura l appropriation / sharin g (Tato r et al., 1998) . Thi s ca n be a positiv e sharin g of under - standing s amongs t group s and thus hav e positiv e effects on bot h groups . Thi s practice was common in th e pas t amongs t Aborigina l people s in Canad a an d th e US A an d continue s toda y at cultura l event s lik e powwows. Bu t sharin g is between group s in relationshi p wher e power differential s ar e no t evident . J Twoshadows’ s text is no t abou t sharin g bu t rathe r abou t cultura l appropriatio n where power differential s between dominan t an d subordinat e group s ar e evident . In this example , the process of cultura l appropriation of Nativ e sweat s help s to establis h cultural hegemony , wit h ver y negativ e effects upon Aborigina l people s who shoul d be abl e to control wh o participate s in Aborigina l spiritual practices an d mus t

182 J. M. Iseke Barne s

be abl e to questio n members of dominan t group s who acces s materials which ar e no t share d bu t stolen fro m a dominate d group . Valaskaki s provide s an exampl e of resistanc e to negativ e appropriation s of indigenou s cultura l artefacts :

In th e resurgen t Indiannes s of th e mid-1970s , I remember bein g amon g a grou p of Indian s wh o protested an auctio n of nativ e artifact s at the Rit z Carlto n Hote l in Montreal. We circled the entrance , then stood silentl y in th e ballroom . Someone carrie d a sig n sayin g ‘ Ho w man y beave r pelt s fo r th e Mona Lisa?’ We watched as people bid : a pair of Blackfoo t buria l moccasins , a child ’s doll, a ceremonial dress, an d a piece of par esh . Jus t before th e polic e ushered us out , a Cre e fro m Mistassin i name d Morley Loon slippe d off one of hi s workboots, held it hig h an d said , ‘How much wil l yo u pa y for this India n boot, worn by a rea l Indian? ’ (1993 , p. 159 )

This accoun t emphasise s bot h th e problem of cultura l appropriation an d act s of passiv e resistanc e by nativ e people to these acts . J Twoshadows points ou t that sharin g in sweats is an appropriatio n that ca n hav e negativ e outcomes fo r Firs t Peoples. Th e performing of Nativ e sweat s by non-native s can reduc e thes e meaning - ful ceremonies to a repetition of action s without meaningfulness . There is a nee d fo r respec t fo r the ceremonies an d their meaningfulnes s to cultura l groups . He share s statement s of resistanc e to this negativ e cultura l appropriation through this cyberspace text .

History , Appropriation, and Hegemon y

Jack , in continuin g hi s discussio n of J Twoshadows’ s texts, raise s questions abou t history an d culture :

What if ou r historic paths cross? Som e traditiona l Celti c musi c sound s a lo t lik e Nativ e America n music . There are , no doubt , som e common beliefs.

Som e of the nativ e warriors wer e described as ‘ banshees’ . A goo d Iris h word. Get th e point ?

Different cultura l group s ma y shar e common beliefs. Thi s ma y occur becaus e they shar e experiences of oppression through colonialis m (Tuhiwa i Smith , 1999) . It ma y als o occur becaus e what one cultura l grou p ha s com e to kno w as ‘their own’ knowledg e ma y well hav e been shared with or extende d from anothe r group ’ s knowledge . Eve n th e teachings of Aborigina l group s shar e in this practice ; fo r example , the Medicin e Wheel teaching s whic h ar e commonly taugh t in Ontario , Canad a by Ojibway people hav e roots in Plain s Cre e tradition s from Albert a an d Saskatchewan . Thi s respecting of tradition s an d recognitio n of share d historie s ensure s that thes e tradition s continu e to be a par t of th e lif e of cultura l groups . Bu t it is important to recognis e that the share d knowledge s ar e no t a par t of the process of establishin g hegemony becaus e these ar e sharing s whic h bene t bot h group s that ar e in a relationship . Th e power differentia l characteristic of appropriation s ar e no t eviden t here.

Aboriginal People on th e Interne t 183

Sai d (1978) , base d on Gramsci , provide s an exampl e of the productio n of hegemoni c discourse s in hi s discussio n of Orientalism :

It is hegemony , or rathe r th e result of cultura l hegemony at work, that give s Orientalis m it s durabilit y an d it s strengt h … Orientalis m is neve r far fro m … the ide a of Europe, a collective notion identifyin g ‘ us ’ European s as agains t al l ‘ those’ non-Europeans , and indee d it can be argue d that the majo r component in European cultur e is precisely what mad e that cultur e hegemoni c bot h in an d outsid e Europe: th e ide a of European identit y as a superior on e in compariso n wit h al l th e non-Europea n people s an d cul - tures. Ther e is in additio n the hegemony of European idea s abou t the Orient , themselve s reiteratin g European superiority over Orienta l back - wardness , usuall y overridin g the possibilit y that a more independen t thinke r … ma y hav e had different view s on th e matter . (p . 7)

Hegemoni c discourse s abou t Aborigina l peoples paralle l thos e of Orientalism , ensurin g that Aborigina l people s ar e maintaine d as inferio r to dominan t society. Thi s is eviden t in Bill ’s text . Par t of this colonia l practice is to degrad e Aborigina l traditions . Minh-h a (1989 ) describe s tactic s of colonialis m whic h ac t to preserve cultura l forms bu t destro y th e content of those forms, i.e . dream-catchers ar e no w commonplace as stree t vendor s an d New Ag e shops ‘ cas h in ’ on this important cultura l form bu t in these use s their meaning s in cultur e an d history ar e simpli ed , forgotten, or erased through th e action s of appropriation. Lind a Tuhiwa i Smit h writes abou t the suppressions of indigenou s people s through account s of history:

We believe that History is als o abou t justice , that understandin g histor y wil l enlighte n our decision s abou t the future . Wrong. History is als o abou t power. In fact histor y is mostly abou t power. It is the story of the powerful an d ho w the y becam e powerful, an d then ho w they us e their power to keep them in positions in whic h they ca n continu e to dominat e others. It is becaus e of relationshi p with power that we have bee n excluded , marginal - ize d an d ‘Othered’ . In this sens e history is no t important fo r indigenou s people s becaus e a thousan d account s of the ‘truth’ wil l no t alte r th e ‘ fact’ that indigenou s peoples ar e stil l margina l an d do no t possess the power to transform history int o justice . (1999 , p. 34 )

In th e Interne t texts, the discussio n of faddis m may well be persons cashin g in an d engagin g in th e repetition of that which is removed fro m th e people without locatin g themselves or these practices in dialogu e wit h history and culture . Thes e ca n be contrasted wit h those wh o engag e in ongoin g dialogu e in bearin g witnes s to history. Tuhiwa i Smit h emphasises th e importanc e of alternativ e historie s told by indige - nou s people s in decolonisatio n an d as acts of resistance:

Comin g to know th e pas t ha s been par t of the critica l pedagog y of decolo - nization . To hold alternativ e historie s is to hold alternativ e knowledges . Th e pedagogica l implicatio n of this access to alternativ e knowledge s is that they ca n for m th e basi s of alternativ e way s of doin g things . Transformin g

184 J. M. Iseke Barne s

ou r colonize d view s of our ow n history (a s written by the West), however, requires us to revisit , sit e by site, ou r history unde r Western eyes. Thi s in turn require s a theory or approac h which helps us to engag e with, under - stan d an d then ac t upo n history. … Tellin g our storie s from th e past, reclaimin g the past , givin g testimony to the injustice s of th e pas t ar e al l strategie s whic h ar e commonly employed by indigenou s peoples strugglin g fo r justice. On th e internationa l scene it is extremely rar e an d unusua l when indigenou s account s ar e accepted an d acknowledge d as vali d inter - pretations of what has taken place . An d yet, the nee d to tell our storie s remain s th e powerful imperativ e of a powerful for m of resistance . (1999 , pp. 34– 35)

Spirituality an d Traditions: custom s or acts of remembrance?

J Twoshadows , no t unlik e Bill , use s a native / non-nativ e distinctio n in hi s text,

characterisin g non-native s as ‘ White People ’ an d ‘Wompiis ’. Bu t it is hi s emphasis that the spiritual practices of nativ e people ar e no t public bu t privat e matters whic h moves the discussio n in a ne w direction . Takin g up spiritua l beliefs as publi c performance of actions , rather than as privat e contemplation, is characterise d as disrespectful. A dialogu e between Lee / Ottawa, Jame s Eagl e Bul l an d Davi d is presente d in sections . Lee/ Ottaw a said :


Respecting you r position, I tak e a slightly different view , an d see the


adoptio n of aspects of nativ e cultur e as the way to no t onl y guarante e


th e surviva l of th e goo d ways , als o so that the whole eart h ca n bene t


from the healin g an d improve d live s of man y people.

James Eagl e Bul l replied :

On e proble m with this is that yo u ar e makin g us responsibl e fo r you r action s as well as tellin g man y of us that our beliefs ar e wrong — at th e sam e tim e yo u sa y yo u wan t to guarante e th e surviva l of thos e beliefs.

Anothe r problem is that in th e USA , India n People mak e up les s than 1% of the total population . Ther e is no way that a larg e portion of the remainin g 99 % ca n sho w up at our doorsteps without us (an d our beliefs) bein g changed — an d change d a great deal — by the experience.

Lee ’ s positio n emphasise s adoptio n of nativ e culture . He doe s no t specify by whom. He sees this adoptio n as tied to survival , presumabl y by nativ e people . Thi s coul d

be an assumption of sharin g of cultur e an d th e bene ts of improve d live s fo r ‘ man y people ’ bu t doe s no t includ e all peoples. Th e question remain s as to who bene ts

an d wh o does not . Lee ’s statement s do no t conside r that power is in th e hand s of

dominan t group s and no t Aborigina l peoples. Thi s emphasis is challenge d by Jame s Eagl e Bull , who recognise s in th e power dynamic s that sharin g is impossibl e give n that Aborigina l peoples ar e a smal l grou p as compare d to the majority group .

Lee/ Ottaw a continued :

Aboriginal People on th e Interne t 185


In my view , it would be goo d if ther e were som e ‘educatio n institution ’


where al l people coul d go as student s to lear n what the nativ e people do


wan t to teach, an d how to sho w respec t fo r the things that ough t to be


respected as well .

(Note : the ide a of an educationa l institutio n is take n up in a late r section.) Jame s Eagl e Bul l replied :

There alread y is a way to lear n thes e things — well— two way s actually .

On e is to go to Th e People an d lear n th e history an d culture , an d no t try to separat e th e spiritua l aspect s (whic h canno t be separate d anyway) . Bu t this take[s] a long time to do — and requires a great deal of effort.

Th e other wa y is to tur n to som e of the plastic s who provid e instan t acceptance an d validatio n [ sic ] an d ar e happ y to provid e a quic k an d eas y wa y to lear n what the y hav e to teach . Of course , what they hav e to teach ca n be bot h worthless an d dangerous — bu t it is quic k an d easy , an d yo u don ’ t have to fool aroun d wit h al l that pesky history an d culture — no r with those disagreeabl e India n People wh o kee p sayin g NO , g

Note her e that knowledg e of indigenou s people mus t be learne d in relationshi p wit h the people as re ected in history an d cultur e of th e people , no t imaginar y fabrica - tion s of th e people created by dominan t society. Davi d responde d to James Eagl e Bull:

An d no t knowin g a spiritua l belie f from a component of a ritual , they opt fo r the latter — so much easie r to acquire . If they ha d their own, the y would no t wan t others’ .

Dav e distinguishe s knowledg e of spiritua l beliefs fro m components of a ritual. Thi s discussio n of ritua l is simila r to Smith ’s (1985 , p. 15 ) description of a perso n of custom:

th e behavio r of th e person of custo m is , by an d large , habitual . … the perso n of custom doe s no t re ect upon hi s condition . … If the customary societ y is , in reality , a ui d order alway s in the process of adaptation , it s continuit y an d incrementalis m giv e ris e to perceptions of changelessnes s an d of th e simpl e repetitio n of familia r motions. … It is almos t a de nitio n of custo m that it s beginning s ar e lost.

As a further illustratio n of this notio n of custom or ritual, conside r a story from Claudin e va n Avery , a Mohaw k educato r at Brock University , who described a friend of hers preparin g a ha m to be pu t in th e oven . Sh e cu t the heel of f the ha m an d pu t it in th e fridge to be cooked late r an d the n pu t th e remainde r of th e ha m in the pa n an d in the oven . When she was aske d why sh e di d this, she sai d he r grandmothe r alway s di d it that way so sh e di d too. At th e famil y gatherin g late r that day , sh e served the ha m an d aske d he r grandmothe r why sh e alway s cu t th e heel off the ham . He r grandmothe r explaine d that she only ha d a smal l bakin g pa n an d that

186 J. M. Iseke Barne s

the ha m alway s had to be cu t in order to t in th e pan . Th e history of this custom / ritua l ha d been los t whil e the custom / ritua l remained . Th e maintainin g of customs / ritual s can be contrasted wit h acts of remembrance, whic h Girou x characterise s as :

an ongoin g dialogu e between past, present , an d future. It is a visio n of optimis m rooted in th e need to bea r witness to history, to reclai m that which mus t no t be forgotten. It is a visio n of publi c lif e which call s fo r an ongoin g interrogatio n of the pas t that allow s different group s to locate themselves in history whil e simultaneousl y strugglin g to mak e it . (1988 , p. 172)

In James Eagl e Bull ’ s text , th e discussio n of the ‘ plastics ’ who provid e ‘ a quic k an d eas y way to lear n what the y hav e to teach’ ar e persons of custom — engagin g in the repetition of the familia r without locatin g themselve s or these practice s in dialogu e wit h the past, present, an d future of a cultura l grou p no r in bearin g witness

to th e history an d cultur e of Aborigina l peoples . Thes e ar e contrasted with thos e wh o ‘ go to Th e People an d lear n th e histor y an d culture , an d no t tr y to separat e th e spiritual aspect s (whic h canno t be separate d anyway) . Bu t this takes a lon g tim e to do — an d requires a grea t dea l of effort’ . Fo r this reason one canno t go to an educationa l institution , as Lee suggests , becaus e engagin g in ongoin g dialogu e in bearin g witness to history is no t possible in institution s wher e Aborigina l peoples ar e suppressed. Another Internet respondent picke d up on a previou s messag e (indicate d by

. . ) and replie d to the ide a of remainin g unchanged .


. Ther e is no way that a larg e portio n of the remainin g 99 % ca n show up at our


. doorsteps without us (an d our beliefs ) bein g changed —an d change d a grea t deal — by


. the experience.


. Yes, bu t if yo u don ’ t teac h them , wil l yo u remai n unchanged ?

No , certainl y not . Thing s chang e al l th e time. Bu t there is a difference between the chang e that occurs naturall y wit h time, an d th e change s that come fro m assimulatio n [sic ]. India n People as a grou p hav e resiste d assimulatio n [ sic ] for ove r 50 0 year s now — and , again , as a group , wil l continu e to resist it .

Again , my poin t is that there is no way that a grou p as smal l as we ar e ca n assimulat e [sic] a grou p as larg e as th e non-Indian s are — we would be destroyed by that . Wha t I am sayin g that most ar e no t seein g is that if yo u wan t to lear n spiritualalit y [sic ] from Th e People, it is necessar y to lear n the histor y an d cultur e of Th e People alon g wit h it — an d to be accepte d by Th e People rst — an d spend a lo t an d [sic] tim e an d effort doin g so . An y othe r wa y is bogus .

Aboriginal People on th e Interne t 187

An d my reference to TH E PEOPLE is no t a reference to th e generic Hollywier d version . Ther e ar e hundred s of Nation s of People, eac h with their ow n history, culture , an d spiritua l beliefs.

Vizeno r (1972 , 1992) , Valaskaki s (1993) , an d Doxtato r (1988a ) war n of th e inventio n of th e mythica l Indian , th e ‘ othering ’ of Nativ e people, an d the condition - in g an d assumption s mad e abou t Indians . Thi s Internet text expresses simila r concerns abou t the tendenc y to reduction s of Aborigina l people s to ‘Hollyweir d Indians ’— th e mythi c productions of Aborigina l people in Hollywoo d lm s (Doxta - tor, 1988b ; Crosby , 1991 ; Arnold , 1997 ; Money, 1997 ; Churchill , 1999 ) an d appropriatio n an d reduction s of knowledg e which is ‘ bogus ’ .

Educational Institutions and Issues fo r Indigenous Peoples

Lee ’ s introductio n of th e ide a of educationa l institution s was take n up by partici - pant s who questioned educatio n an d it s connection to cultur e an d history. Gai l responded:

That ’s what pow wows ar e for . Ther e is a lo t of educatio n don e there , by th e story tellers, NA [Native ] traders , historian[s ] wh o se t up either at the gat e or in the center, NA boo k dealers , NA musi c dealers , dancer s wh o als o speak.

Dennis suggeste d in regar d to Lee’ s suggestio n of an educationa l institution :

That ’s an honorable if unpopula r suggestion . It remove s the teachin g from th e culture . Yo u canno t do that an d hav e it mean th e sam e thing. It becomes informatio n about , an d no t par t of [th e culture] . …

Th e onl y suitabl e ‘ educatio n institution ’ is individual s an d their friendship . If they decid e to shar e their beliefs with you , they will . If not, yo u stil l have a friend . If that wasn ’ t you r inten t an d [you ] didn ’t wan t a friend , then yo u probably aren ’ t suitable to shar e th e belief s with.

(That ’ s a gurativ e you — I wasn ’ t bein g accusatory. )

An d be awar e that man y wil l NOT feel lik e sharin g beliefs, despite the fact yo u ma y become a friend . They hav e that right .

Thi s discussio n agai n emphasises that educatio n is in relationshi p wit h indigenou s peoples. Powwows ar e suggeste d as a plac e wher e that ca n happen while agai n it is emphasised that this relationshi p is important , otherwise it is jus t information. Of course, dominan t notion s of educatio n often treat educationa l practic e as bein g abou t disseminatin g informatio n disconnected from it s source — informatio n no longe r connected to the people who produce d it . Bu t this approach is rejected becaus e al l informatio n has a sourc e an d was produce d in context. Th e Roya l Commissio n on Aborigina l Peoples Report (1997 ) or RCAP , is a $5 8 millio n documen t commissione d by th e Canadia n Governmen t to surve y Aborigina l people s an d to mak e recommendations fo r futur e direction s an d polic y in Canad a

188 J. M. Iseke Barne s

whic h outline s in it s educatio n chapte r (volum e 3, chapte r 5) that there ar e man y way s to learn . Amongs t the larg e numbe r of recommendations is th e intentio n to create ne w educationa l institution s an d to chang e existin g one s int o Aborigina l institution s in earl y childhood , elementary , secondary, post-secondary, an d adul t education . Creatio n of an electronic clearin g house is als o a recommendation. In this document, there is a strong commitment to actio n in regar d to educationa l institu - tion s bu t als o a strong message that Aborigina l people s nee d to be in control of thes e institutions . Governmenta l suppor t an d developmen t of Aborigina l controlled insti - tutions is required . Th e intentio n is to creat e possibilitie s fo r language , cultur e an d history to be sustaine d in educationa l institutions . Otherwise, we continu e what Battist e an d Henderso n (2000 ) describ e as th e function of schooling whic h organise s knowledg e to maintai n an d promote domi - nan t scienc e an d th e suppression of indigenou s knowledge an d peoples:

Eurocentric publi c schooling fo r Indigenou s peoples ha s no t been benig n (Memmi, 1963 ; Freire, 1973 ; G. Smith , 1997 ; Milloy , 1999) . It ha s bee n use d as a mean s to perpetuat e damagin g myths abou t Indigenou s knowl -

edg e an d heritage , languages , beliefs, an d way s of life . It ha s als o estab- lishe d Eurocentric scienc e as th e dominan t mode of thought, a mode of thought that distrust s diversit y an d jeopardize s us all as we move int o the nex t century . After nearl y a centur y of publi c schooling fo r Indigenou s people s in Canad a fo r example , th e most serious problem with the curren t syste m of educatio n lie s no t in it s failur e to liberat e the huma n potential amon g Indigenou s people s bu t rather in it s quest to limi t their thought to cognitiv e imperialisti c practices. Thi s quest denie s Indigenou s people access to and participatio n in th e formulation of educationa l policy , con- strain s th e us e an d developmen t of Indigenou s knowledg e an d heritag e in schools, an d con ne s educatio n to a narro w positivisti c scienti c vie w of

th e world that threatens the globa l future. (2000 , p. 86 )

Sharing Indigenous Knowledge s

Wilde r responded to Dennis ’ s comments on th e removal of teachin g from th e cultur e an d the creatio n of informatio n abou t the cultur e rather than bein g a par t of it:

I hav e ha d people as k me speci c questions abou t my religiou s tradition s

an d I als o fee l that they ar e jus t lookin g fo r som e detail s to experimen t with. Possibly people raise d in th e Christian traditio n do no t realiz e that

no t everyon e want s to convert others. I tr y to be polite, bu t it is rathe r

awkward . I tried to explai n to on e perso n that it was lik e me askin g them what kin d of underwea r the y ar e wearing. If I am no t intimat e enoug h to know , then it is no t a question I shoul d expec t an answe r to [an d I shoul d expect that the questionee migh t be quit e offended].

A friend ’ s grandfather , who was a medicin e man , di d decid e that hi s people

were mean t to shar e their tradition s with people no t fro m the tribe. He was

Aboriginal People on th e Interne t 189

a ver y wise man , an d ha d goo d reasons fo r believin g that this was necess-

ary , an d it is righ t fo r eac h ban d to decid e ho w the y feel abou t this issu e wit h regard s to their ow n sacre d knowledge .

Wha t can / shoul d be share d an d wit h whom? Concer n amongs t participant s of th e oversimpli catio n of traditions , spiritua l beliefs, an d cultura l understanding s abound . Bill ’ s classi cation s provid e an exampl e of that which is undesirable . How ca n this be avoided ? These participant s sugges t the engagin g in seeking , no t of repetition of customs bu t th e activ e pursui t of remembrances . In act s of remem - branc e cultura l group s ar e viewed as continuall y activ e in cultura l practices whic h ar e eve r developing , thus avoidin g the reductionis t an d voyeuristic possibilitie s an d negativ e impac t of appropriation s whic h construct Aborigina l peoples as engage d in frozen an d unchangin g traditions . Kurihat o suggested :

I agre e that ou r People , individuall y or by Nationa l or Triba l decisio n

shoul d conside r ‘ teaching ’ our Ways . However , I, too, am concerned with tryin g to teac h the m without teachin g the cultur e an d histor y behin d them . To tak e th e practic e without the meanin g seems a sacrilege . I als o thin k that the hear t of the ‘ student ’ is an important aspec t of the decision . To open our belief s up to whomever, regardles s of th e heart or the inten t would see m to me to dishono r ou r [sic ] the Ancien t One s an d ourselves .

RedWoman wrote:

I hav e to disagree . Th e Elder s taugh t me that it is no t Ou r cultur e to keep.

Ou r whole belie f system is base d on love , respect an d sharin g an d her e yo u

ar e sayin g ‘they’ hav e no righ t to it . We hav e no righ t to sa y this, it is no t up to yo u or me or anybod y to decid e this , it is the Creator ’s. Th e onl y way

to ge t rid of hatred of our people an d al l people is through education . How do yo u expec t that to happe n if yo u wil l no t shar e th e knowledge ?

In excerpt s from Dave ’ s text , there is a questionin g of the sharin g of cultura l knowledge:

Do yo u shar e this knowledge indiscriminately , regardles s of whether or no t

th e perso n seekin g to obtain it from yo u is read y for it ? Do you r elder s

suppor t that as well ? It coul d be, bu t I would be surprise d if their answe r would be ‘ yes ’ .

I was taught , an d believe , that when someone shares something important

wit h me, it is a gif t the y giv e me . They kno w I am read y to receiv e it an d

they kno w I appreciate it an d treat it wit h respect. Or do I treat that gif t as

if it is nothin g an d thro w it to th e win d an d everyon e who ma y catch it

there ? Tha t doe s no t sho w respec t fo r the gif t or those who hav e been kin d enough to shar e it wit h me.

Th e gift s of the Creato r ar e al l aroun d fo r everyon e to share , as we’ ve bee n

190 J. M. Iseke Barne s

reminde d man y times. Indian s shouldn ’ t think , an d I don ’t believe , we hav e som e sor t of corner on ‘enlightenment ’ or whatever yo u wan t to cal l what people ar e lookin g for. That ’ s what we hea r a lot . Doesn’ t that mak e it eve n mor e curious that the y feel the y mus t come to us to nd it ?

Anyway , I’ m al l for bringin g bac k in los t relatives , where we kno w they ar e relatives ; I’m al l fo r sharin g knowledg e whe n appropriate an d when those sharin g ar e approache d correctly an d feel comfortable sharin g it . No t jus t becaus e it ’ s a lucrativ e market. Or becaus e someone feels that it ’s somehow you r dut y as an India n to quenc h their thirst fo r something real .

I sur e won’ t stan d for gettin g scolded by non-Indian s when they don ’ t lik e th e fact that Indian s don ’ t freely serv e up the thing s they hold dea r on deman d to anyone . If yo u choose to do so, that is you r choice . Yo u shouldn ’t mak e other Indian s feel that the y hav e som e obligatio n to do the same . We ar e no t al l the same , either . I kno w the Ho-Chun k (formerly Winnegbag o [sic]) an d the Puebl o Indian s ar e ver y close abou t keepin g their spiritualit y an d cultur e to themselves. Is this no t their right ? I would answe r wit h an emphatic , ‘ yes ’ .



Wit h whom do we shar e traditions ? Who decides ? How do we decide ? Who is worthy of th e knowledge ? These ar e dif cult questions . Th e respondent s suggeste d that : (1 ) it is the elder s and cultura l teachers wh o mus t decide ; (2 ) it is the people themselves who mus t decide ; or (3 ) sacred knowledg e is mean t to be share d so al l the world’ s people ar e strengthened. Al l participant s emphasised th e nee d fo r th e tradition s to be connecte d to cultur e or th e knowledg e would become somehow separate d from cultur e an d that this would be reductive . In this conversatio n ther e is som e consensu s in explorin g the dif cultie s of maintainin g tradition s an d a sens e of identit y in a world stil l so drive n by colonialis t intention s an d appropriativ e agendas . Th e suggestio n that knowledge shoul d be centralise d an d then ‘distributed ’ wa s challenge d as this suggestio n continue s th e colonia l educationa l practices whic h we currentl y liv e with an d which continu e to do damag e to Aborigina l children . Th e Interne t respondent emphasise d that knowledg e is the people , an d thus a wa y to acquir e understandin g is to see k personal connections wit h people , to form friendships , an d to expen d efforts to understan d through personal interactions . Ebe r Hampto n describes:

India n educatio n orients itsel f aroun d a spiritua l centr e that de ne s the individua l as the lif e of th e group . Th e freedom an d strength of the individua l is the strengt h of the group . Thi s wide r identit y is celebrate d an d perhap s promoted by rituals (Rappaport , 1978) . … Th e individua l doe s no t for m an identit y in opposition to the grou p bu t recognize s the grou p as relative s include d in hi s or her own identity. (1995 , p. 21 )

Aboriginal People on th e Interne t 191

Th e ide a that knowledg e is th e people or held within group s challenge s th e potential of an Interne t site (o r web page ) as a way of making connections or acquirin g cultura l knowledge . In an Interne t sit e or web page , yo u canno t for m th e kin d of grou p connections an d personal relationship s necessary to kno w Aborigina l people in a way that would mak e it possible fo r sharin g spiritua l an d cultura l practices. Moreover, mos t Interne t site s an d we b page s ar e produced by dominan t culture , whic h entrenche s power by depictin g Aborigina l people s through a narro w set of image s base d on stereotypes. Uncritica l Interne t audience s accep t thes e stereotypical representations of Aborigina l people s leavin g Internet users with nar - row perceptions mor e deepl y entrenched. Thes e misrepresentations become percep- tion s on which members of dominan t society tak e action in day-to-da y practices. Thi s occurs when these distorted perceptions go unchallenged . Dei et al. (2000a ) indicat e that:

To appropriately teach Indigenou s knowledge , educator s mus t dea l with questions of credibility , accountability , practice , relevance , sustainability , appropriation , validatio n an d legitimation . Credibilit y is a questio n of the educato r providin g knowledge s that student s ca n trus t to re ec t their socia l reality . Accountabilit y call s on students , educators, parents, an d com - munit y workers to be accountable to eac h othe r in the searc h for , an d sharin g of knowledge . Practice mean s that knowledg e is no t only experien - tia l an d ca n be tested, bu t that it ca n als o be use d to addres s pressin g socia l problems . It is in this latter understandin g that the relevanc e of Indigenou s knowledg e is articulated . Indigenou s knowledge s ar e dynamic , an d in their abilit y to adap t to ne w challenge s an d ne w environments , they hav e stood th e tes t of time. On e central reaso n fo r it s sustainabilit y is that loca l people vie w an d emplo y the m collectivel y to work towards personal an d commu- nall y bene cia l ends . In this communa l perspective, ther e is an ope n directiv e agains t the appropriatio n of knowledg e fo r narro w individualisti c interests. As we seek to integrat e these knowledge s int o the conventiona l school systems, we mus t guar d agains t appropriatio n an d misappropriation. Thi s is a contemporary challeng e for educators . Th e process of validatin g Indigenou s knowledge s mus t no t lea d to Indigenou s people s losin g contro l an d ownership of knowledge . In other words, it mus t be recognize d that these knowledge s ar e vali d in their ow n righ t an d that th e process of bringin g the m int o the academ y shoul d no t itsel f constitut e the measur e of validation . Closel y tie d to the questio n of validatio n is the issu e of legitima - tion. Th e legitimac y of Indigenou s knowledge s is base d on th e righ t of people s to de ne an d articulat e their own account s of what is happenin g to them an d how the y inten d to dea l with pressing problems . In other words, an acknowledgemen t of th e varie d ways , options an d strategies through which people continuall y mak e sens e of their world an d ac t within it . (pp. 46– 47)

192 J. M. Iseke Barne s


Throug h th e new s grou p conversation s we see multiple an d contradictory discourse s abou t an d fro m indigenou s people s an d complex negotiation s an d counter-positioning . As Bil l demonstrates , in Internet text s ther e is spac e fo r presentatio n of dominan t discourse s abou t colonised peoples presenting an d re-presenting divers e people s as exoticise d others, authenticate d an d stereotyped so that difference is ‘appropriate d in a manne r that diffuse s it s power’ (hooks, 1994 , p. 16), enablin g the voyeuristi c relation s without an y relatio n to resistanc e struggles . In examinin g the remainin g Internet texts provided , there ar e als o possibilitie s to encounte r resistanc e texts . Bu t the participants , in emphasisin g th e smal l siz e of th e Aborigina l population s in North America , ar e suggestiv e of th e questio n of whether there wil l be suf cien t resources an d access so that indigenou s people ca n us e cyberspace to resist stereotypes an d disrup t th e voyeuristi c gaze . In Bill ’ s text , Aborigina l peoples ar e taken up as objects. How do these re ec t academi c discourse s abou t Aborigina l peoples ? In man y ways , the takin g up of discussion s abou t Aborigina l peoples in thes e Internet text s parallel s academi c discourse s an d researc h practices as they pertain to Aborigina l peoples. As Tuhiwa i Smit h suggests :

Th e power of research was no t in th e visit s mad e by researchers to our communities, no r in their eldwor k an d the rud e questions the y often asked . In fact, man y individua l non-indigenou s researchers remain highl y

respected an d well like d by the communitie s wit h whom the y hav e lived . At

a common sens e leve l research was talke d abou t bot h in term s of it s

absolut e worthlessness to us , th e indigenou s world, an d it s absolut e useful - nes s to those wh o wielde d it as an instrument . It told us thing s alread y known , suggeste d thing s that would no t work , an d mad e career s for people wh o alread y ha d jobs. (1999 , p. 3)

In these Internet text s ther e wer e issue s identi ed that man y scholars an d educator s ma y no t ye t have considered . Aborigina l an d indigenou s pedagogi c orientation s ar e no t frequently re ecte d in scholarl y an d educationa l texts , despit e a growin g numbe r of works in this are a (Slapi n et al., 1988 ; Tedla , 1992 ; Cajete, 1994 ; Battist e & Barman , 1995 ; Howard , 1995 ; Shujaa , 1996 ; Castellano , 1997 ; Almeida , 1998 ; Barnhard t & Kawagley , 1998 ; Stiffarm, 1998 ; De i et al., 2000a). Indigenou s perspectives ar e frequently silence d becaus e the y ar e no t written by academic s (Taylor , 1995) , ar e no t expressed by or abou t a dominan t cultur e (Dei et al., 2000b) , or have no t received th e sanctio n of institution s who hold power (Dei, 1998) . Th e project of academi c institutions , often through th e guis e of science, is to create ‘knowledge ’ an d ‘ truth ’ fo r dominan t society while :

Transform[ing ] the ‘truth’ of subjugate d knowledge s int o myt h an d ction.

Fo r example , earl y Nordic , Anglo-Saxo n an d Greco-Russia n stories ar e

‘history’ , whil e earl y Mayan , Inui t or Ib o stories ar e ‘ pre-history’ ; th e North

is sai d to hav e ‘ creation theories’ , the Sout h ha s ‘ creatio n myths’ . Th e

Aboriginal People on th e Interne t 193

Subjugate d history becomes dominan t anthropology , subjugate d medicin e becomes dominan t ‘ herbal remedies’ , subjugate d way s of understandin g an d namin g the physical world become dominan t scienc e an d technology . Scienc e may neithe r be th e ultimat e creato r or destroye r of knowledg e or ‘truth’ , it is onl y able to enhance , deprecate or ignor e what ha s gon e before. (Dei, 1999 , pp. 21 – 22 )

Indigenou s knowledge s ar e subjugate d knowledge s bu t the y ar e important to th e work of indigenou s peoples. Tellin g our stories an d makin g these knowledge s eviden t is important because , as Tuhiwa i Smit h suggests :

To resis t is to retrench in th e margins , retrieve what we were an d remake communities, cultures , language s an d socia l practices— al l ma y be spaces of marginalization , bu t they hav e als o become spaces of resistanc e an d hope. (1999, p. 4)

This Internet discussion , as a sit e fo r resistance, ma y giv e us hop e by enablin g us to se e that resistanc e is possible by everyda y people . It provide s possibilitie s fo r collectiv e resistanc e if we tak e the combined efforts of those resistin g on this site as evidence , althoug h it is no t a collaborativ e actio n in these example s bu t remain s singula r ones . Is an Interne t sit e a usefu l educationa l tool in makin g connections or acquirin g cultura l knowledge ? As the participant s in this discussio n emphasise , learnin g an d acquirin g cultura l knowledge require s that one go to the people an d become involve d in a relationship — a relationshi p of respect an d sharing . Thi s relationshi p wil l ensur e that the learne r comes to understan d something abou t indigenou s knowledge s rather than engagin g in cultura l appropriatio n of informatio n abou t Aborigina l peoples. Whil e the Internet is potentiall y a plac e to uncove r those wit h whom suc h relationship s migh t evolve , it is no t clea r that these relationship s ar e possible on th e Internet itself . Remembering the Blu e Snak e scenario described at the onset of this article , it is potentiall y dangerou s to presume that cultura l knowl - edg e ca n be acquire d in a context in which participant s ma y no t be whom the y sa y they are. Th e ‘ writin g back ’ in these Interne t texts is a publi c performance which enable s participants , which ma y includ e educators an d students , to see Aborigina l resistanc e as it is playe d out . It ma y mak e it possible for educators an d student s to begin to conside r divergen t viewpoints . Bein g in a spac e where resistanc e is eviden t is helpful in mobilisin g further resistanc e an d reducin g the incidenc e of bystande r behaviou r in whic h members of dominan t group s do no t participat e in stopping negativ e behaviou r or activel y participat e in racis t activitie s in order to be par t of th e pee r grou p (Short, 2000) . Bil l was challenge d when he trie d to mak e participant s int o silence d subjects an d was rebuked when he trie d to represent them in simplisti c ways . Bu t reductiv e an d essentialisin g discourse s on the Internet ar e common. Searches of the Internet repeatedly revea l discourse s which stereotype an d demean . Whil e it is impossible to rebuke ever y racis t or reductiv e comment directed at indigenou s people s (o n th e Internet or otherwise), as the numbe r of suc h

194 J. M. Iseke Barne s

assault s is too great , it is helpful to see resistanc e as it encourage s indigenou s people s to tak e prid e an d fee l strong in struggle s in whic h we do choose to engage . It is important to hav e opportunities to witnes s struggle s an d activitie s whic h support th e ongoin g work of indigenou s peoples. These texts, in engagin g in writin g bac k an d resistance , ai d in the struggle s of indigenou s peoples to hav e stories availabl e an d potentiall y to hav e them heard . Bu t culture s on the Internet an d in societ y ar e frequently represented in reductiv e ways . Dominan t societ y controls thes e representations an d ensure s that thes e dominan t stereotypes ar e told and retold to maintai n it s power. Locations wher e these dominan t discourse s ca n be challenge d ar e important. As the commercialisation of the Internet proceeds, it is corporate an d no t cultura l interest s whic h seem to be increasingl y re ected on the Internet. Corporat e interest s hav e the resources to ood th e Internet with representations an d to ensur e that thes e ar e catalogued / linke d to be easily accessible . Site s of resistanc e ma y be les s access- ibl e an d of suc h limite d scale (compare d to corporate activities ) that one ma y need experienc e in where/ ho w to nd thes e sites in order to nd alternative s to corporate material . Issue s of scale an d access combine to limi t possibilitie s for resistanc e activitie s through technologies (D e Vane y et al ., 2000). Cyberspac e therefore seems to engag e in the ongoin g public an d academi c discourse s which reduc e Aborigina l peoples to stereotypic images , tak e Aborigina l identitie s as simplistic , mak e Aborigina l tradition s an d spiritual practices commodi- ties to be bough t an d sold , an d engag e in cultura l appropriation of Aborigina l knowledge . Give n th e siz e an d control of dominan t society it is likel y that represen- tation s of indigenou s peoples on the Interne t wil l be created that represent subju - gate d subject s in stereotypic ways . Indigenou s orientation s seem mostly to be exclude d or represented in simplisti c ways . Dominan t society wil l us e it s frames of reference to interpre t th e Interne t an d conclude (a s usual ) that it s dominanc e is justi able . Participant s fro m dominan t societ y wil l likely continu e to engag e in cyberspace, attempting to mak e indigenou s peoples int o plian t objects an d silence d subjects. Cyberspac e participant s who hav e power, access an d control will represent their ‘ others’ to serv e their dominan t agendas . Bu t these texts als o demonstrat e that indigenou s people s ar e mobilisin g an d that resistanc e to dominan t discourse s is possible ; that alternativ e stories ca n be told , examined , shared , an d negotiated . Indigenou s cyberspac e participant s ca n us e this mediu m to challeng e dominan t stereotypes an d discourses , engagin g in dialogu e whic h enable s resistanc e activitie s to be articulated , shared an d acknowledged . My ongoin g work addresse s issue s of acces s an d resistanc e amongs t Aborigina l people s in Canada . These ongoin g projects re ect the intersections of discourse s abou t identity , community , cultur e an d pedagog y through Internet conversation s wit h Aborigina l educators fro m across Canad a (wh o ar e af liate d with man y Aborigina l nations —Cree , Dene, Inuit , Metis , Mi’kmaq , Mohawk, Ojibway , Okana - gan , an d others). In this context, meaning s ar e continuall y renegotiated . Awareness of multipl e an d divers e perspective s of Aborigina l people s ma y assis t all of us to counter our ow n stereotypic understanding s of Aborigina l peoples an d to resis t simpli cations .

Aboriginal People on th e Interne t 195

If cyberspace is to be responsiv e to the need s of al l peoples, we nee d discussion s which:

provid e spaces fo r meaningfu l exchange . If the dialogu e is to be purposeful, it canno t be circumscribed. It canno t ba r pain , anger , an d passion . It canno t avoid th e issue s of rac e an d racism . It canno t disclai m the existenc e of disparat e socia l realities , different subjectivities , distinc t histories , an d divers e truths. (Tato r et al., 1998 , p. 267 )

Recognitio n and inclusio n of stories an d image s from indigenou s peoples in an y regio n wher e there ar e dominan t an d subordinat e people s is a rst step. Examinatio n of cyberspace an d cultur e is important as it ca n help us continu e the struggl e for discourse s an d spaces for meaningfu l exchange s in counterin g colonia l representations, stereotypes, an d historie s an d in working to bea r witness to history an d culture . Changin g educationa l institution s in elementary, secondary , post-secondary, adul t an d teacher educatio n to be responsiv e to the need s of indigenou s people s is important in Canad a an d throughout the world wher e indige - nou s people s liv e an d learn . Onl y the n ca n we begin to includ e al l people s in publi c educatio n discourses . Otherwise, colonialis m continue s to the detriment of al l peoples.


Researc h reported in this articl e was supporte d in par t by th e Memorial Universit y of Newfoundland , Vice-President’ s Research Grant , th e Ontario : MET Transfe r Grant , an d th e Socia l Science s an d Humanitie s Researc h Counci l of Canad a in th e rst phas e of a large-scal e research project.


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