Cultural Survival is an international organization which advocates for Indigenous Peoples’ rights and supports Indigenous communities’ self-determination, cultures and political resilience. They work with Indigenous communities to defend their lands, languages, and cultures.
Impersonators have caused aboriginal people great harm
This article published in the Ottawa Citizen on July 2nd ties back to our discussion in Module 2, week #6 when we were examining the ways that Indigenous Peoples are protecting Cultural Rights. It connects to our discussions in Module 3 by demonstrating how action is being taken through technology through commentaries to make people more aware of the damage that can be done by those impersonating aboriginal people for their own personal gain or status . Doug George- Kanentiio gives many examples of the damage that can be caused by impersonators.
“Sometimes the person who makes this claim does so out of a need to belong or a sense of fantasy as to Native culture. They may do so based upon obscure family tales or because they may have heard a whisper as to a distant aboriginal ancestors somewhere in their past. They may also have other motives such as government grants, academic advancement or securing federal, state or provincial benefits targeted for Natives.” (Doug George- Kanetiio, Impersonators have caused aboriginal people great harm, July 2nd, 2015)
He gives examples of the economic effects of marketing Indigenous Arts as authentic by impersonators. He also talks about the effects of those claiming to have Indigenous ancestry in order to get into academic programs. For every impersonator, there is one less space for Indigenous students, making it even harder for these students to make the next step in their educational careers.
George-Kanettiio, The Ottawa Citizen. retrieved July 2nd, 2015. http://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/doug-george-kanentiio-impersonators-have-caused-aboriginal-people-great-harm