Winnipeg's Most (John Voss)
Can the dysfunctional relationship between non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal Peoples be fixed? That's the question asked in the new CBC documentary series 8th Fire.
In the first part of the four part, one-hour series, entitled Indigenous in the City you'll meet lawyers, doctors, even a comic book author. All of them trying to beat down the stereotypical images of addictions, crime, and poverty.
Here's a sneak peak from the doc, featuring the award-winning rap/hip-hop group Winnipeg's Most.
Ron Linklater also plays a role in the documentary. He is an Aboriginal cultural teacher in Winnipeg. He believes you change negative attitudes through education - of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people alike.
Ron Linklater on his experience:
In my capacity as an instructor for the Aboriginal Counselling class in the Red River College Applied Counselling program I have seen students move from attitudes of indifference of the barriers faced by Aboriginal people to a complete about face. They come to realize the impact of colonization and experience feelings of empathy and care towards Indigenous cultures.
For instance, many of them never learned of the residential school era and that the last federally run school only closed in the mid 90's. I recall how one of my students called me and was crying after hearing Prime Minister Harper's residential school apology a few years back. She remarked, "I finally know how devastating the residential school era was - I get it!".
Being fortunate to witness genuine change by these students speaks to the values of care, compassion, and concern which is integral when one establishes a relationship with Indegionous people. The old people always believed that we accord each other's cultures with respect, acknowledgment, and recognition.
There have been active efforts to understand the Indigenous peoples' world view where spiritual traditions are being embraced and applied into the western institutions including churches, courts and governments. Because of the growing acceptance in the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people many of the stereotypes are no longer insurmountable obstacles to achieving a bridging of relationships.
In our language the word for truth is tahbwaywin, while the word for accepting truth is odahpinigaywin. As teachers we speak truth and it is up to the students to accept this truth. This is the journey we all take.
Ron Linklater (Ron Linklater)
MIDDLE PHOTO: Ron Linklater, Aboriginal cultural teacher (still from 8th Fire)