Aboriginal Studies: Observation And Analysis

1662 Words 7 Pages
Aboriginal Studies is something challenging to provide a perfect introduction of. It encompasses knowledge from fields as diverse as anthropology, sociology, history, and religious studies. It is contentious academic field that raises both difficult political and academic questions: can non-Aboriginal researchers properly engage its study? Can Western methods of observation, analysis, and teaching be applied to artifacts, knowledge and societies inherently different from Western conceptions (Patrick 2013: 1398)? Here at Queen 's, the course is categorised under Global Development Studies; should the class be primarily concerned about development – such as the improving of the quality of lives and promoting political representation of Aboriginal …show more content…
For me, these introductory materials and lectures can be organised using three main categories: those that provide basic definitions, terms, and history, those that outlines the challenges and complexity of Aboriginal Studies, and those that explore the lives and cultures of Aboriginal people. The second lecture, along with the CBC “ReVision Quest” podcast falls into the first category, in which the correct use of terms such as “Aboriginal”, “Indigenous”, and “Treaty Lands” are discussed. This is accompanied by a basic discussion of historical contexts, including the Indian Act of 1985 and the differing views of land uses between the West and the Aboriginal People. Information that falls into this category, though not terribly exciting, appears to form the basic components for discussion in this course – terms and themes that will continuously reappear. Meanwhile, the first lecture, along with the Short Introduction and the introduction from Freeman’s Distant Relations explores the challenges that face the field of Aboriginal Studies, including the deeply rooted stereotypes in society, Western history as a “history of victors”, political and economic agendas in academia, the phenomena of cultural appropriation, and the general lack of reliable records. Information presented by these …show more content…
A survey of Canadian newspaper articles from 2006, for example, notes how even today the media still report on Aboriginal issues “much as they were 130 years earlier”, from perspectives that “protect dominant interests and signify aboriginal people as a threat” (Harding 2006: 224). The paper argues that despite having “the voices of aboriginal people […] selectively incorporated into discourse”, the media often still implicitly promotes colonial themes such as “the triumph of reason over emotion” (Harding: 224). Another study from 2000 found that while most Canadians have favourable opinions towards Aboriginal people, aboriginal leaders still faces “major challenges in even capturing the public 's attention” (Pointing 2000: 70). Studies like this shows the extent of unfamiliarity of the general public towards both Aboriginal issues and Aboriginal people in general. Personally, despite having studied some of the history of the Aboriginal people of Canada in my other courses, I have a lack of knowledge of their lifestyles and cultural practices besides some general themes such the concept of land guardianship. Thus, I have found that the introductory materials, such as the film “Cree Hunters of Mistassini” particularly

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