Counter-Narrative – ECCU 400

Hello everyone!

As you know, I have been writing blogs for my ECCU 400 class. This will be my final blog that I will be writing for this class. Now, this blog is slightly different from my typical blog post that I have written. This blog post will include a video that describes my thoughts on the given prompt. Included at the end of the blog post is the script that I will use for the video.

The prompt that I decided to respond to was to identify a myth that is listed in Chelsea Vowel’s book, Indigenous Writes, and to create a counter narrative that dispels the myth that is discussed. The myths that are listed in Chelsea Vowel’s book are all myths about Indigenous People in Canada. The myth that I chose to create a video on is “The Myth of the Wandering Nomad”. I chose this myth because it is the myth that is so often thought of when people initially think of Indigenous People in Canada. Many people, when they initially think about Indigenous People of Canada, think about people that are wanders that simply traveled to follow the buffalo or people that lived in teepees.

Many people have not been given adequate education about Indigenous People in Canada. Many people have the perception that Indigenous People just aimlessly roamed around following the buffalo and never really settled down permanently. Many people have the understanding that all Indigenous cultures are the same; that every Nation lived in teepees, hunted the buffalo, and participated in Powwows. This misconception about Indigenous cultures in Canada is a huge cultural appropriation that plagues Canada today.

As a future educator, it is important for me to teach my students that are many differences between Indigenous nations, including differences between language, celebrations, housing, and ways of living. I will teach my students that it is a myth that Indigenous People of Canada were historically wandering nomads with no intention in their movements. By teaching students this, I will be engaging student in some of the outcomes in the Treaty Education curriculum including TRK, HC1, HC2, TR3, and HC5. Encouraging students to learn more about different Indigenous Nations in Canada will help students learn more about the cultures of the Indigenous People in Canada and deepen their understanding that Indigenous People of Canada were not wandering nomads.

Below is my video that describes my counter narrative for the myth “The Myth of the Wandering Nomad”.

Thanks for reading my blog post and watching my video!

Ashley Osachoff

Script for video

“There is a common myth that many Canadian believe about Indigenous People of Canada: The Myth of the Wandering Nomad.

This is the myth that all Indigenous People were historically nomadic wanderers. This myth is extremely detrimental because Indigenous People did not wander around the land aimlessly. According to the Canadian Government’s website, there is over 50 Indigenous Nations in Canada today and there are over 50 Indigenous Languages. By believing the myth that all Indigenous People were wandering nomads, Canadians are continuing to believe that all Indigenous Nations are the same and all practice the same traditions.

Typically, people believe that historically Indigenous People were all the same hunter-gather, wandering nomads that live in teepees. Many of the Plains Indigenous People lived in teepees and followed the buffalo as a food source, but they did not pick up and move every single day as many would believe. The Indigenous Nations that typically followed the buffalo were skilled hunters and gathers that knew the resources of the land that they frequented yearly. For example, the Indigenous People would need to know the difference between various plant life, including the difference between a wild parsnip, which is an edible root plant, and the Water Hemlock, which is a poisonous plant if ingested.

The Plains Indigenous People are only a few Indigenous Nations that populated Canada before European contact. The Haudenosaunee are an Indigenous Nation that had a very different traditional history from the Plains Indigenous People. One of the main differences between the two groups is that the Haudenosaunee people typically lived in one area and were farmers. The three main crops that the Haudenosaunee grew were corn, beans, and squash, which together they called the three sisters. Another difference between the two nations is that the Haudenosaunee did not live in teepees, but instead lived in longhouses.

As a Canadian, it is important to understand that not all Indigenous People lived in teepees and hunted the buffalo. Each nation is unique and have their own traditional practices. There may be some overlap between nations, but each nation is still unique in their own way. Indigenous People in Canada were not wandering nomads, but instead they were skilled hunters that followed their food source, they were skilled gathers that knew the land they lived on, and some nations were skilled farmers that knew how to farm and grow crops before European contact.

You cannot lump all Indigenous People into one large culture, each nation is different and must be honoured and respected.”

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