UNIT 1: Identity, Terminology, & Moving Beyond Stereotypes

Welcome to English First Peoples 12!!!

EFP 12 – UNIT 1: Identity, Terminology, & Moving Beyond Stereotypes
In this first unit, we are going to explore what terms like ‘Aboriginal’, ‘First Nations’, and ‘Indigenous’ mean, and how these terms have evolved over time. After looking at the language we use when talking about Indigenous peoples in Canada, we’ll examine common stereotypes about Indigenous people. Next, we’ll explore ideas around identity; specifically, the things that shape our own identities.

Let’s start with this video concerning the language we use when talking about Indigenous peoples in Canada. “How to Talk about Indigenous People” from Inuk journalist Ossie Michelin.

Activity 1: Terminology
1) Define the following terms: Indigenous, First Nations, Metis, Inuit, and Aboriginal.
2) Why do you think many Indigenous people prefer not to use the term ‘Aboriginal?’ Think of and list 7 other words that start with ‘Ab’. (This might offer some clues…)
3) Reaction: in a paragraph tell me what you thought of Ossie’s ‘How to Talk About Indigenous People’? Do his explanations line up with your understanding of the words?

Activity 2: Evolving Terms
The term “Indigenous” is quickly replacing “Aboriginal”. In a paragraph, tell me what you think of when you hear the term “Indigenous”? (Check out the video below for some other perspectives to help you out!) Do you prefer the term over “Aboriginal”?

Activity 3: “An Indian By Any Other Name”
Read the short story “An Indian By Any Other Name” by Drew Hayden Taylor.
“An Indian By Any Other Name”
Drew has a very different take on the importance of the language we use to talk about Indigenous peoples. In complete sentences, answer the following:
1) Do you agree with his position on political correctness? Are we too politically correct these days?
2) From what you gathered in the story, where did the term “Indian” originate? (If you’re not sure, do a quick google search).
3) Do you agree or disagree that the language we use to describe Indigenous peoples isn’t really that important?

Activity 4: Stereotypes & Myths
Stereotypes and myths abound when it comes to Indigenous peoples in Canada (and everywhere else, for that matter).
imagesa) Your first task is to brainstorm and write down at least 5 stereotypes about Indigenous peoples that you’re aware of. We will return to this in later units when we debunk stereotypes.

b) Racist sports teams. There are several sports teams and mascots in North America that many argue are racist and completely unacceptable. Opinions vary, but a lot of Indigenous folks are making efforts to have these teams and mascots changed. Watch the three videos below, which present different perspectives on the issue, and write a 2-3 paragraph response to the question: should team names like the Washington Redskins, which are accused of being racist and offensive to Indigenous peoples, be changed? Why or why not?

Activity 5: Identity is Messy
Identity for most people is complicated. An individual can identify in many different ways, and isn’t necessarily defined or limited to any one identity. A person can identify as a skateboarder, a musician, Cree, K’omoks, female, trans, male, a juggalo (looking at you Alex :), and so many other things.

juggalotrumpOur identities are complicated and multi-faceted. Drew Hayden Taylor’s Pretty Like a White Boy explores this idea. After reading the story, I’d like you to compose a critical response. At least 3 paragraphs that address the following questions:

1) How is Drew Hayden Taylor’s sense of identity complicated? How does he struggle with other peoples’ ideas about him versus his own ideas about himself?

2) Do you have any similar feelings about your identity? How do you identify? How would you describe yourself to someone who’s never met you?

Congrats, you are finished the first unit of EFP 12!