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?
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