Destiny And Tragedy Essay

685 words - 3 pages

Destiny and Tragedy Jeremiah Okimasis experiences a physical journey, touching both his psychological and spiritual side. At age six, Jeremiah is thrust into the unfriendly and sometimes painful world of a Catholic residential school. His journey is filled with hardships, as he faces the school's desire for conformity. Consequently, he undergoes an inner battle, resulting in the denial of his own Cree heritage. Through music, only does Jeremiah find a retreat from the realization of his identity.Tomson Highway's, "Kiss of the Fur Queen" attacks both Western religion and its abuses. Father Lafleur is depicted as a snake-like person, whose abuse upon young Jeremiah at Birch Lake Indian Residential School, is more psychological than anything else."Now Jeremiah. You know you're not to speak Cree once you're off the plane." Jeremiah felt a choke breaking against his throat. (70) The priest enforces a strict rule to speak only English as a method to strip away individuality and impose conformity. This form of mental control is matched with the physical confinement of the boarding school, thus resembling a prison camp to control native subjects. For example, there is a prize awarded to those who rat out the most number of students for speaking Cree. This serves as a way of breaking down the community by turning the Cree against each other.Jeremiah experiences a struggle within himself about the culture he is "born" into "“ this being the Cree culture, which he attempts to abandon through most of his natural life. Furthermore, he believes that there is no such thing as a modern native culture, but rather thinks of it as primitive way of life. In turn, he uses this way of thinking to justify his strong disapproval of his roots.I don't even know if I enjoy being Cree, he knew he shouldn't say. That his embarrassment had descended to a simmering dislike dismayed him. But why shouldn't he hate this place, these cheap goings-on, this conquered race of people? (174) Jeremiah's perception of his culture is...

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