Thursday, February 7, 2013


“The internalization of the concept of race can be seen in Aboriginal communities--the identification of authentic Aboriginal peoples based on appearance and social status.

Colonization has left many light-skinned descendents of Aboriginal people; this is particularly so when Europeans parented Aboriginal offspring.

Drew Hayden Taylor humorously exemplifies how this "mixing" of people has created interpersonal problems within Aboriginal communities and "second class Indianness":44

The darker you are, the more you are embraced and the more Indian you are thought to be.

The lighter your skin, the more difficult it sometimes is to be accepted by your Aboriginal peers (and the non-Native world).

White is no longer right. And heaven forbid that a person
from the dominant culture, who happens to have some barely-remembered ancestor who tickled toes and traded more than some furs and beads with a Native person, should let a conversation slip by without mentioning that at least four of the 24 chromosomes in his body don't burn in the summer sun.45

 .44 This term (Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1992) 108.
45 Drew Hayden Taylor, "How Native Is Native if You're Native?" in Laliberte, supra note
33, 58 at 58-59

Brian R. Pfefferle
Saskatchewan Law Review


Anonymous said...

Maybe all us so-called white people who have recently discovered they have Indian blood running through their veins, can take this opportunity to change some of the stereotypes undeservedly surrounding the First Nations people.

Ward Pike said...

As one of those of whom you speak, i can certainly identify with that.

Growing up, my grandfather told me "If you're white, you're right. If it doesn't show, they don't need to know"... I was clearly darker and more "indian" looking during my teenage years and this was much to my mom's chagrin who even now points to old pictures and says "There was my little Indian".

The fact is, many of us of mixed descent do feel estranged or even ostracized from the first nations we hold ties to or memberships in. It's almost like a reverse racism to a certain degree.

Some communities and nations are very accepting though, to their credit.

Anonymous said...

Author Brian Pfefferle makes good point. Do you have the whole article?