The 8th Fire

Did you get a chance to watch this episode of the 8th Fire: http://www.cbc.ca/doczone/8thfire/2011/11/indigenious-in-the-city.html ?

Here are some questions that came to my mind. Perhaps you can help me answer them.
1) What do we need to know about history to help us understand how we got to this point?
2) What prejudices or stereotypes of First Nations people do we hold?
3) What are the solutions to some of the problems brought on by colonialism?
Take some time to reflect. Talk to your parents and your peers, and look at the other comments. Be honest, thoughtful, and open. There are no right or wrong answers.
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15 thoughts on “The 8th Fire

  1. We need to know the truth of what happened to the aboriginal community in order to know how they came to be in this situation of separation, leaving them “caught between two worlds.” We need to know about colonialism and how it affected the lives of many aboriginals in order to understand and appreciate their struggle to keep their culture. What happened when the non-aboriginals came to shore and interacted with the indigenous people needs to be known. History is the version of those who wrote about it and then distribute it to masses of people. The history that many people are taught is not typically about the hardship of what the Aboriginal community has faced, therefore effecting not only the lives of Aboriginals themselves, but also everyone else by not knowing the truth. People need to realize that things like the Indian Act of 1876 controlled the life of Aboriginals, not allowing them to practice traditions or speak their language, and many other thinks including forcing them onto reserves. It is important to be known that by separating the Aboriginals onto reserves has made them become isolated when they move to cities. Indigenous people should have been integrated from the start instead of being sent to residential schools. Residential schooling has force Aboriginals to be ashamed of their culture and not wanting to pass it down to their children. These assimilating acts, policies and laws have had negative consequences on native communities and it is important for this to be addressed to try to strengthen the relationship between the Aboriginals.It was interesting to me that all of the stereotypes of Aboriginals seem to be negative. The fact that this is the truth that people think of all natives in this way is very saddening. Some stereotypes include that they are non-educated, alcoholics, drug addicts and lazy. It is these stereotypes on Aboriginals has allowed statistics like: Aboriginals are five times more likely to be in trouble with the law and two times more likely to live below the poverty line. Aboriginal youth that are told these stereotypes begin to believe them and then begin to think they cannot make changes.A large solution is to educate. Educate Aboriginal youth about their culture and allow them to not be ashamed of it. And also to educate non-aboriginals about the struggles of the native communities so that they are not racist and will not push the Aboriginals out of school. My parents were never taught about the efforts to assimilate the Aboriginal culture and therefore they could not pass information down to me without reading about it and learning themselves. Other things like recreation centers for Aboriginals living in the city are important so they are kept off the street. One of the Winnipeg’s Most members mentions that he found music and was able to connect with that. Role models are also important so that if Aboriginal youth grow up in a bad situation, like their dad selling drugs, they are able to connect with a good influence. These solutions are only little ones; however, they are needed to bridge the divide between Aboriginal and non- Aboriginal youth.

  2. Historically, we as Canadians needs to understand that the blame does not belong with either party. That is how we have ended up at this point. Both parties, the Native Canadians and the colonial Europeans, have acted badly. It is true that it was completely unfair for the Europeans to colonize and claim land that did not belong to them. There is not argument which can justify the existence of residential schools. Those points are difficult to argue. However, the stereotypes that have arisen about Native people have to have come from somewhere. There's a lot of poverty in Winnipeg, and a lot of those involved are Native. The evidence is all over the streets. I'm not saying that successful, hard working Native Canadians don't exist. They're just under represented. The point is that a large percentage of Native people have not done their part to break free of the stereotypes which oppress them. If there were some way to encourage those people to get up and fight against the ties that bind, I believe that would be the only way to really solve problems caused by colonialism.

  3. We need to know that history is always told from the historian's point of view. The historian interprets facts and retells them with a purpose. He/she might assess the rights or wrongs in the past, ask/answer questions that are brought up from past events, or argue against/justify someone's actions in the past. In any of these situations, the historian must take a stance. Many people do not learn about the effects of colonialism, the Indian Act, and the residential schools on Aboriginals, because some historians try to hide this part of Canada's history. People should know that the Indian Act "killed the Indian out of them", by forcing Aboriginals to stop speaking their language and celebrating their culture. Canadians have formed prejudices against indigenous people because they don't know that a part of our history has been denied. Everyone must learn about Canada's history, from the perspectives of non-indigenous and indigenous people.Many people view First Nations people as people in poverty. They often categorize First Nations people as people who are uneducated, join gangs, or abuse substances.Colonialism forced Aboriginals into poverty and shame. They received poor education and couldn't practice their traditions. In order to solve these problems, we need to educate non-indigenous and indigenous people about Canada's history of colonialism. Everyone should learn and understand that colonialism ruined the lives of many generations of Aboriginals. We should appreciate their language and culture. To move forward, we should be more open and less judgmental. We should have more integrated daycares and elementary schools, in which children learn to form friendships that are not based on color, race, or class. That way, everyone grows up with a sense of belonging in their own community. After learning about this part of Canadian history, we should realize that no one should ever feel singled out.

  4. In order to understand how we got to this point, it is important to acknowledge the truth about Canada’s history. At times this may be difficult as there are several versions and points of view about different events which occurred. Most of the time, there are two sides to the story. It is essential that we take into account both sides as they will give us some insight and better understanding without being ignorant. We know that Canada has a history of colonialism. Part of the issue is that many Canadians do not know or will not acknowledge its effects. When we refuse to believe that colonialism has greatly affected the First Nations people in Canada, we are being ignorant. The Indian Act is what took the land away from the First Nations people, pushed them onto reserves, and forbade them to practice traditions or speak their language. The Federal Government also decided to force the children into Residential Schools essentially “to take the Indian out of them”. Negative experiences and environments have lead to behavioural problems in future generations. It is very difficult for this pattern to break. Even in present-day society, there is taunting of First Nations children in schools, resulting in kids dropping out of school at a young age. Some stereotypes that we tend to hold of First Nations people are that they live in poverty and that they abuse alcohol and drugs. It seems that many Canadians also think that they are uneducated and do not pay taxes. It is unfair for us to assume these things about First Nations people. In order to solve problems brought on by colonialism, the problem of us having all these stereotypes about First Nations people, and to mend our relationship with them, we should truly get to know them. Getting to know First Nations people, their history and their culture is the start we need in order to form new, positive relationships with them. It is important that we educate ourselves as much as possible on these matters so we have the opportunity to understand.

  5. As a wise man/woman once said, "we must learn from our past to understand our future." This applies directly to how people should learn about the First Nations of Canada. In the past the First Nations were brutally slaughtered or discriminated by European settlers. Some early settlers even used First Nation people as slaves. Hiding from our history won't help us. For people to learn to move on they must treat each other with equal rights and throw away prejudices from the past. In the 21st century no Canadian citizen should stereotype First Nations people as inferior to themselves. For our country to move on people must rid themselves of hatred from the past.Every Canadian citizen should learn the history of their country and its peoples. They should not be given a European centered education, instead First Nation people should be talked about as well, their place in our history is very important. Only when we understand the horrible actions of our ancestors and the cruelty felt by the First Nations people can we really move on. People should lose their ancestor's hate and move on in a new era of equality.

  6. We need to know that history is always written by the victor, or in this case, the Europeans. This being said, W need to know how Europeans and native Americans interacted when the Europeans first came to north amerce, and why that may have created stereotypes and hatred between the two cultures. As a European descendant, there are still stereotypes that some people believe about the native culture, such as believing that they are all drug or alcohol abusers, or that they get a huge amount of free money from the canadian government. These things are caused by colonialism, but they may be helped if reserves were abolished, because then there would be more interaction between native Americans and Europeans, and they would see that the other culture wasn't so bad.

  7. We need to know and understand both sides of a story in order to make a conclusion. What we hear from one side may be biased, unjust or unfair. That is the problem, in this case, with the Aboriginals, the vast majority of the population believes they are a bunch of lazy, stinky, lying idiots. However, if you hear the Aboriginal side of the story, you may see it differently. Many Canadians when they hear the word Aboriginal think nasty, alcoholic, welfare bums and gang members. European colonialism damaged the Native's way of life. They believed their culture to be barbaric and inferior to their own. We need to educate the population that the Aboriginals are just as intelligent as we are. The reason why people may see them as inferior is because the White people made them feel that way by giving them second class education, housing, etc.

  8. I think that in order to understand how we got to this point we need to learn about the colonization of Canada, why it happened. We also need to understand the situation in Europe and the Europeans mind set at that time in order to understand what made the Europeans think that they could come onto another people's land and take it. We also need to know about all of the horrible experiences the Aboriginals went through, such as residential school, assimilation, and being forced off their land and forced to give up their culture.The most common stereotypes of Aboriginals today are that they are all alcoholic, criminals.Some of the solution to these problems might be to educate the public on these problems so that the majority of the population no longer looks down upon Aboriginals. We might also think about encouraging more inter-cultural mingling to help each other see that the other culture is not actually so bad.

  9. I think we need to understand the two different sides of the story to know what is actually happening. What we hear from one side isn’t always true. The stories we hear are mostly from the Europeans because they logged everything. The Native American’s on the other hand passed information down from word of mouth so it was easy to change the story. People think of stereotypes as soon as you say Native American like lazy, drunk, homeless. So if we try to listen to them we probably think they are drunk just talking a bunch of gibberish. It takes time for people to respect them and finally respect them enough to listen to them. Colonialism damaged the Native Americans way of life. The Europeans thought the Native Americans way of life was savage and crazy. The culture questioned the Roman Catholic Religion which was unspeakable way back when. I think for people to respect Native Americans we will need to educate people that the Native’s were here first and they should have the majority of power in Canada.

  10. The first thing we must understand is that initially, Native Americans and Europeans were able to coexist at one point, meaning that it is possible for us to coexist now as well. The tensions were caused by land disputes, and resources etc.We feel many stereotypes of Natives, such as lack of wealth, lack of education, and they are unable to go far in life. This does not help them if they are trying to change.One solution that we can find, and what we are trying to do is give Natives high-paied jobs. A person's reputation is usually associated with monetary status. We can ensure that there are affirmative programs to allow Natives to access these jobs and help them with education which could fundamentally change the situation. This will ensure that there is equity for Natives in our society.

  11. History is always told by the victors and it is our job to learn the story of the losers. In order to grow as a society, it is important for us to learn about our past in great detail. We know that Canada has a history of colonialism. As a society, it is our responsibility to learn about this in order to prevent this from happening again and to better the lives of First Nations. A common stereotype of First Nation people is that they do not positively contribute to our society. We can fix this by providing them with better jobs that wouldn't normally be available to them. This would create equality and change peoples views on First Nations.

  12. In order to fully comprehend and understand the situation we are in, we need to learn about the colonization of Canada and how these actions caused the differences we are suffering through right now. We also need to learn about the causes for why we have stereotypes on Aboriginals, such as that they are all alcoholic or criminals. In order to solve these problems, we need to educate the general population about the problems we are facing right now. One easy way would be to either improve reserves or to abolish them.

  13. The 8th Fire talked about our history and how history has contributed to the point we are at today. An Indian Act, signed in 1867, was signed and was an act that pretty much controlled the lives of the first nations people. The act enforced that no native person could practice their traditions, speak their language, and all of the ceremonial items were collected and burned. As well, once all the reserves were established, native people were not allowed to leave the reserve. As well, they weren’t allowed to attend university unless Indian status was given up. In the program they showed a tradition native with a head dress, long hair, etc. giving up Indian status, with short hair and in normal clothing. As well, residential schools are a huge part of our history. These schools were established to “take the Indian out of the Indian”. Families were split apart and “destroyed” as it was described in the 8th Fire. Children were taken from their families and were forced to not speak their language and to not practice their customs. Today, elders of communities don’t like to speak about their times during Residential Schools. Most commonly known stereotypes of aboriginal people are negative. They include abuse of alcohol and drugs, are noneducated, lazy, in trouble with the law, are gang members, and will not finish high school and therefore will not have an education. The group, Winnipeg’s Most, are a group of guys who have “broken free” of the common stereotypes. They have tried to learn about their aboriginal backgrounds and try to promote positivity when it comes to native people. As well, as the lawyer, and artists in this film, they too have tried to break free of their negative stereotypes. In the program they didn’t spend a lot of time talking about solutions to the problems from colonialism. The only solutions that were briefly discussed would be the integrated daycare centers that inform and teach aboriginal and non-aboriginal children about aboriginal traditions and who the native people are in Canada.

  14. 1) What do we need to know about history to help us understand how we got to this point?We need to know the reason that they were separated in communities, and we need to know the truth of what happened to them. We need to know the history of our relationship2) What prejudices or stereotypes of First Nations people do we hold?The stereotypes mentioned in the CBC program were that the first nations are "drunks" and that they are thugs in gangs. Also that they are lazy, and uneducated.3) What are the solutions to some of the problems brought on by colonialism?It's hard to say what the solutions would be. Honestly, I think the solution would be to stop funding the reserves, and for everyone to be equal. Not everyone is going to treat people right if they aren't being treated equal by the government. It may not work at first but I think that in the long run this would be the best thing.

  15. Several things from Canada's history have put aboriginal people in a unfavorable standing. What we need to realize is that the aboriginal people were here first and the Europeans came afterwards. Not only does this mean that the Europeans have colonized and taken over the aboriginal peoples land, but it also means that the aboriginal people don't deserve to be treated the way they do. This ties in the the First Nations stereotypes and prejudices which include First Nations people being uneducated, gang members, alcoholics and lower class citizens. There are a few solutions to having First Nations people being treated equally again. And that is simply to accept them for who they are and realizing that they might not be lower class citizens. In fact they may be just as educated and possibly smarter than most people. By looking past our bias we can finally acknowledge that aboriginal people are simply like any other people and should be treated as such.

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