The focus of my weblogs will be on urban aboriginal issues related principally to identity and disconnection to land. I was very interested by the Howe and Bowers articles and their descriptions of the differences between western approaches to knowledge (supported by new media such as the Internet) and indigenous perspectives where ancestral knowledge is highly valued, and identify is formed through a relationship between a “unique community and their landscape” (Howe, 1998, p. 22). How does this relationship change when indigenous people no longer live on their reserve, and are instead part of a larger multicultural society? How can authentic indigenous culture be maintained in urban environments without risking marginalization? Is it even possible for urban aboriginals to identify as indigenous when not embedded in a traditional landscape? How are aboriginals different than other minority groups? Can technology play a part in the revitalization of indigenous culture or will it lead inevitably to assimilation?
I will be exploring urban aboriginal situations in other countries to see what differences or similarities exist. I will also research artistic (not necessarily traditional) initiatives of urban aboriginals.
Howe, Craig, (1998). “Cyberspace is no place for tribalism,” Wicazo Sa Review (Fall, 1998), 19-27.