Monday, 19 May 2014

Renate Eigenbrod: hi/stories

Renate Eigenbrod
"Maybe I shouldn't have smiled ... But I was on holidays in a small town close to Algonquin Park. 

While I and my family were enjoying the beautiful environment of this region, I was also looking for stories and histories of the Aboriginal people of the area - after all, the park is named after one of their nations, the Algonqins.

However, I did not find anything - except a stereotypical display of pre-contact life in the Visitor's Centre (which is very spacious and tells a lot of other stories) and this life-size figure (together with another one of "an Indian" in a canoe) in front of a craft store for tourists.

So in the midst of total ABSENCE of the real people and their real stories about how they still have to fight for land they had never signed away (like the Algonqin Park) I found the PRESENCE of images that relegates Aboriginal people to the past, to the imaginary and the exotic, that commercializes their culture and dehumanizes the people.

Algonqin means "allies," and the Algonqins were allies of the British in 1812, but instead of being rewarded for their efforts they had and still have to fight for their rights.

It is hi/stories like these that need to be told in Canadian educational institutions. This is why I teach in Native Studies."

~Renate Eigenbrod

     podcast:  What do I say?

Renate Eigenbrod

Losing a friend, mentor

Beloved professor, scholar and head of Native studies Dr. Renate Eigenbrod has died

In Memoriam: Renate Eigenbrod

1 comment:

David Koulack said...

This is a lovely tribute to a fine person.