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Nationalisms and Identities among Indigenous Peoples

Case Studies from North America


Edited By Martina Neuburger and H. Peter Dörrenbächer

This book investigates nationalisms and the emergence of national identities among the Indigenous peoples across North America. It examines the many difficulties which the Native communities have had to face in order to assert themselves as nations, as well as looking at the ambiguity of the term 'nation' within First Nations-government relations. The volume gives a broad perspective on the historical development of Native American nationalism and also explores a variety of political, educational, sociological, cultural and even literary viewpoints. The experiences of the Indigenous peoples are compared with the experiences of other Aboriginal groups across the globe, in order to enrich our understanding of global indigenous nationalisms.
The contributors to this volume represent the perspectives of a variety of different First Nations and a wide range of disciplinary fields, from history, anthropology and political science to communications, law, linguistics and literary studies.
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Transcending the Winter Time: The Legacy of Residential Schools and the Role of Indigenous Places of Higher Learning in an Era of Reconciliation


The purpose of this chapter is to explore the legacy left by residential schools and the role of Indigenous places of higher learning in meeting the complex needs of First Nations communities in an Era of Reconciliation. Long ago, when our grandmothers and grandfathers were sitting around in circles, they predicted that our people would undergo a time of great upheaval. They said we would go through a long period of winter in our communities and that at some point in time, we would reawaken and there would be a springtime when our cultures, languages, values, knowledge systems and ceremonies would begin to flourish again. They said we would transcend the great winter and from these experiences we would become great teachers of all humanity.

The metaphoric winter for First Nations people in Canada has included over 500 years of colonization and 100 years of education policy based on assimilation and cultural genocide. Beginning in the early 1800s and ending in the 1980s, residential schools were established by various churches and funded by the federal government (Milloy 1999). The mission was to destroy the ‘Indigenous’ in the child and rebuild them based on European ways of knowing and being. Some scholars refer to residential schools as a social engineering experiment gone terribly wrong. First Nations, Metis and Inuit children as young as four years old were sent away for many months with only brief visits with their families in the summer and Christmas. Some never came...

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