The indigenous people are those that are native to the land that we live on. Canadian history shows colonizers have come and taken the land with no regard to those who live on it. In Glen Coulthard’s “Red Skin, White Masks” the philosophy of Civil Disobedience with regards to Indigenous protests are explained and further elaborated upon creating multiple discussion topics.
1.At what point does a person switch from internalization to externalization. What specifically can cause the moment of resentment and the moment of realization?
This question was proposed due to the explanation of Coulthard’s reflection on the internal evolution of why the Indigenous protests began. Coulthard explains the change from internalization to externalization of an issue. It begins with internalization when one thinks the problem is their fault or due to their mistakes. Then there is anger in the realization that the way they are being treated is unfair and unjust. This leads to resentment, where one looks for the root of the problem, seeing that it is due to the actions of a another party (colonization). Therefore, the emotions are externalized and that emotion leads to protests and acts of civil disobedience that illustrate the disapproval with the state. Although this theory defines the process, my question proposes when that distinct moment occurs and whether there is a universal trigger or if it is specific for each person and/or group of people.
The group began with a discussion on what may cause a person to be angry or realize their anger. That moment comes at a point of respect for oneself and an intersection with a realization that the issue cannot be solved with their singular ability. After the anger, the point where they externalize their emotions and decide to do change the system is when they realize they’re not alone in their anger. Once a person realizes there is a universal anger and resentment, they have a safety of knowing that others will support them. This support allows people to voice their concerns and to feel confident in their opinions. Furthermore, there was also mention of when a person realizes that a certain action can affect more than one person. This goes well with the idea of support since the understanding of an action affecting more people that just yourself gives you the power to defend yourself since others will most likely support you because they feel the same. there were examples given such as the way Snowden externalized and gave information possibly due to the reassurance of support. In addition, there was the example of having a learning disability and once one realizes that they are not alone, they have the courage to voice their concerns and pursue help and/or change.
2. At what point could this lead to violence? Is there any point other that violence can be warranted on their behalf? Is this working?
The second question posed was a reference to Brownlee and her view on how violence can be necessary for civil disobedience. So far the Indigenous people of Canada have protested throughout history with little to no violence. Although, this is the preferred form of protest it has led to minimal change in the government and the Indigenous pursuit of self-determination. Would violence benefit their cause and cause the media and state to pay attention or harm the protests by presenting an image that could be misconstrued?
It was understood within the discussion group that violence is never preferred, but throughout history it has proven to gather the attention of the state and media. There were ideas from half the group where they believed that violence or a choice in retaliation of violence can tarnish the reputation of the Indigenous protests that have been held up today. Whilst the other half of the group believed that violence, if pushed to that point, may finally make protests warrant the attention of the state. There was conversation that the violence is inevitable if the government doesn’t make change soon. Civil Disobedience was described as a cycle in a circular fashion where eventually if the issue is not resolved, violence will be encountered.
This discussion led to a final overarching question where we took all our knowledge on civil disobedience this semester and tried to answer, “how can the Indigenous people gain the attention of the government to make a change?”. People opposed violence just for attention and instead turned to petitioning for quantitative evidence that can be brought to the government. In addition, there was conversation on making minor adjustments that each person can do such as acknowledging the land we are one, learning about the culture of your area, and promoting the desire for change. Although, there were no conclusive ideas on how the government can finally make a change, there was a consensus in the discussion group that there should be change.