The Myriad Dynamics Of State Policies Shaping Canadian Aboriginal Society

1769 words - 8 pages

State policies have shaped Canadians’ lives in a myriad of ways. Policies and social construction have both played an important role in how policies have influenced the construction of race, class, gender and disability in the age of neoliberalism. The modern ideals have been shaped largely by historical happenings that have both challenged and advanced Canadian society, specifically in relation to the country’s Indigenous context. This essay will focus on how the larger Aboriginal setting in Canada has intrinsically linked race to all other aspects of their development through: the Haudenosaunee women’s lacrosse team, the 2010 Vancouver Olympic games, the lasting effects of residential schools and the national tragedy of missing women.
Sports have long been apart of the construction of Canadian identity, although racial and gender based issues have been a defining factor in league development. The mythology of sports presents the nation with a unifying force that often masks any social struggles. It has also become a political project, focused on two aspects: colonialism and modernization. Sports were an early attempt at classifying society and as a means for cultural imperialism. A Settler game, Baggataway, of the First Nations people was transitioned into the Euro-centric sport of lacrosse. The British saw the game as a colonizing tool, which helped to form the National identity. It became a means to shift an unwritten aspect of Canadian life, into a facet that dictated the larger states’ intent. Aboriginals have been placed under an ongoing struggle to find a secure spot within the Canadian sport spotlight, especially in terms of women’s involvement in lacrosse. They were looking to challenge traditional views with the modern ideology. Elders did not support women playing as it clashed with community traditionalists, although modernists insisted that they played in order to combat colonialism and empower women. The Aboriginal women’s team, the Haudenosaunee, were accepted into the Women’s International Federation in 2006 and established a new precedence for the sport community. The story of the Haudenosaunee speaks volumes about nationalism, culture, sport and gender as they sometimes conflict in challenging ways. For the women’s team, a revival of traditionalism was of the utmost importance since their traditional should under no circumstances be used to place their communities in oppressive situations once again.
These unfair circumstances extend further to once again explore the asserting of indigenous rights in the hidden spectacle of Nationalism with the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games. As Christine M. O’Bonsawin writes, “the campaign for ‘No Olympics on Stolen Native Land’ is perceived to be a radical crusade calling for the cancellation of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games” (Christine M. O’Bonsawin 143). Given that the games were going to be hosted on both unceded and non-surrendered indigenous lands it challenged state politics...

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