My family and I live in Mount Pleasant, meaning we are within close proximity to a Native Reservation. The Native Reservation closest to us is approximately five minutes away, and living so close to such a culturally enriched area has been a really beneficial experience for me, personally.
As I have mentioned numerous times before, I am minoring in Women and Gender Studies at Brock. A lot of the Gender courses I have taken have discussed the oppression that Indigenous persons are subjected to in their lives resulting from their ethnicity, specifically Indigenous women, and learning about their oppression has only strengthened my interest in the Aboriginal culture that exists so close to me in my home town.
Indigenous individuals are often associated with incorrect and discriminatory stereotypes. Indigenous women in particular are associated with the figure of a Squaw, and such association has an incredibly negative connotation in North American culture. A squaw is a discriminatory title used to refer to an Indigenous woman, and the use of this term by non-Aboriginal persons is crude and disrespectful, however numerous persons still exercise use of the term which angers me tremendously.
Indigenous men also face discrimination and inaccurate stereotypes in several different regards. Aboriginal men are accused of being aggressive and violent, likely because of their association with the concept of a Savage throughout the colonization of Indigenous persons in Canadian history, and this stereotype also greatly perturbs me.
I think what angers me most about persons using these stereotypes to describe Indigenous persons is that the persons who use them have zero understanding of Indigenous culture and history. I am not saying that I am an expert in this realm, however I have learned a great deal about the culture throughout my university studies, and I am grateful that I have. I am able to use my knowledge to educate ignorant persons in regards to Aboriginal heritage and culture, and in doing so it is my hope to abolish the use of offensive and inaccurate categorizations of these misrepresented people.
The Indigenous culture and heritage is so rich and compelling, and I encourage you to explore it if you are unfamiliar with their history.