Borders

Jun. 9th, 2014 09:55 am
[personal profile] almac82
In Thomas King's "Borders" the story discusses the borders between aboriginal identity and Canada and the US. The story was told by a young teenage boy who didn't seem to understand the full circumstances to why his mother was making such a point in not declaring herself as anything other than Blackfoot. This piece was intended for those who do not identify as aboriginal to give them a impartial insiders view on why many aboriginals do not identify with their colonizers nationality. The purpose of this story was to make the reader contemplate on the reality that aboriginal bands are nation states within themselves and are not necessarily keen to be forced to identify as anything other than their band. The initial conversation between the mother and the border guard demonstrate this beautifully. They go back and forth with the border guard asking "Citizenship?" and the mother replying "Blackfoot"; this goes on until the border guard gets fed up and returns with another man "swaying back and forth like to cowboys headed for a gun fight". Both men attempt to press the mother to divulge "which side of Blackfoot" she came from, but the mother holds strong and simply replies, "Blackfoot side." After mother and son spend a few days camped out at the border crossing because "neither the American or Canadian side would let [them] in" the media coverage they receive pressures the border officials to accept them through the border declaring themselves as Blackfoot and they are finally able to visit Laetitia in Salt Lake City.

This story shows that there are many more nationalities in Canada and the US than many non-aboriginals consider. There are many aboriginal bands that conduct themselves with their own laws, language, and ideology. This example of a Blackfoot women and her son being denied entry to the US because of her refusal to identity as Canadian shows how we must respect these first nation identities and how they choose to represent themselves.

Question: Can you think of an identity that you have had forced upon you that you didn't feel represented you?

Date: 2014-06-09 05:05 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] japanlove
Excellent comment on how Aboriginal communities are divided by each band, and these bands have their own rules to abide by their people. Regarding your question, I have experienced judged by others in past. Someone told me that I don't look like Japanese or I don't act like Japanese. I remember I was so upset by this senseless stereotypical comment. Since then, I don't feel right to judge others by their nationality.

Date: 2014-06-09 05:44 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] elowyn
I spent a big part of my childhood feeling like I had an identity pushed on me that wasn't me or wasn't fair. I was brought up in a Greek family with a first generation Greek father. From a tiny little girl I was taught to believe that I should do exactly what I was told, never go anywhere, stay home and clean, learn to cook and live the life of the girls back in the village Greece. Because that is where my family had come from, and that's how girls were brought up. I had a very hard time trying to understand why all the other girls got to go to sleepovers, parties, go out and play after school and just have a normal life (by American and Canadian standards), but I had to stay home alone, clean, and cook. I had two brothers that were able to lead "normal" lives, but that was because they were boys. Girls didn't do any of those things. Girls didn't do any of those things until I turned thirteen and moved out on my own because I couldn't take it anymore. I didn't move out and go crazy; I moved out and took care of myself. I still did all the things I was supposed to do, school, work and whatever else I needed to do to take care of myself, but I decided to have a life as well. My father finally understood that just because I wanted to have a life it didn't make me a bad person. My father also learned that I would not let anyone push me around and force me into situations that weren't right for me, not even him. My father learned to respect that I was a strong person that could take care of herself; he still has a hard time with that.

Date: 2014-06-09 07:20 pm (UTC)
araisha151: (Default)
From: [personal profile] araisha151
I liked your blog, I agree with you that "Borders" was about the struggle of First Nations and their struggle for identity.

I have had times when I had to look at the way I was representing myself because the impression people were getting of me was not one I wanted to portray. I think at one point or another we all fit a stereotype and just like the First Nations (though obviously not to the same extent) we need to work on changing that if it's not how we want to come across. I have many First Nation's friends that identify with their cultural heritage. One I am especially proud of is going to Africa to teach Haida basket weaving to school children. I always remark on how lucky she is to identify so strongly with her culture. It encourages me to do the same.

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