My political cartoon focused on a currently conceptual oil pipeline being proposed to many first nations bands. It is being advertised as a safety-first, environmentally conscience pipeline, geared towards aboriginal nations that the pipeline would be running through. The obvious branding to natives could be taken as satire, after all, what name could be more ridiculous and sounding as though an ignorant white man made it up on the fly than Eagle Spirit? The most interesting thing is that Eagle Spirit is being offered as an alternative to Northern Gateway, but the only differences are that it takes a different route. To me, based on the research I could dig up on the pipeline, it appears to be run by similar people as those in charge of Northern Gateway, rich, profit-driven white men who’s first concern is their own financial benefit. So I drew this simple cartoon which depicts a man in a suit, implied to be a representative of Northern Gateway. All the onlookers are protesting and experiencing great public outcry, which is similar to what is happening currently. In the second panel, it is a near identical scene, with the same man only this time wearing a chieftain hat, which is meant to represent the simple rebranding of it. All the onlookers are cheering wildly and supporting it, which is a representation of all the natives that refused Northern Gateway but now are responding well to this near identical pipeline.
I think that after all the horror that European settlers put the Native Canadians through, it is remarkable that either faction could live with the other. Even only looking at the literal genocide known by the unassuming term of “residential schools”, these are crimes which are commemorated with solemn monuments in other parts of the world, while the facilities built to “kill the Indian inside” are not nearly as recognized. I believe that very little good came of the interactions between Europeans and Aboriginal peoples. If I were living my own life in the lands that my ancestors had lived on for thousands of years, and then suddenly we were invaded by unfamiliar men bearing diseases that both we and our livestock were vulnerable to, alcohol that we were so easily addicted to, and a will to conquer, I would be wondering why my gods had forsaken me.
Even today, Canadian government, full of people of European heritage like myself are still attempting to recover from the great injustices that were committed against aboriginals. Many live in reservations, and most are exempt from some taxes, rules, bylaws and regulations. All of this, in my mind is an apology coming much too late.
I would be interested in learning about more positive interactions between the white people and the natives. It seems so much of their interaction was conflict, when were Europeans ever doing a positive action that wasn’t just remedying their previous actions?
As I look at these questions, I have no doubt that I will be addressing most of the A section of the prescribed learning outcomes. These are the general learning ones, applying critical thinking and displaying adequate research skills, et cetera. Inherently, C3 will also be something I will be addressing. It’s looks into more specific groups and individuals in the native category, like the Métis or of Louis Riel. The B2 section looks into more general and overall perspectives on Native Canadians, while C3 is more specific.
While residential schools are a stain on Canada’s mostly virtuous background, I believe that the best way to overcome the mistakes of the past is to discuss them, to recognize that they happened. So with this it, it’s good that our school curriculum is prescribing us to learn about them.