MULTICULTURALISM FIRST NATIONS STUDENTS/CULTURE 2016. 8. 17.آ  For First Nations peoples the problem

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  • Multiculturalism: describes the existence, acceptance or promotion of multiple cultural traditions with a single jurisdiction usually considered in terms of the culture associated with an ethnic group.

  • • First Nations peoples (Mi’kmaq/L’un) lived in the Maritime provinces well before their documented inhabitance of the 16th century. This area is known as Mi’kmaq’ki. Mi’kmaq people have always had a governmental body called the Grand Council until the government passed the Indian Act in 1876. This Act was established to require First Nations peoples to establish representative elected governments when in fact, they already had their own form of government.

    • The Grand Council flag of the Mi’kmaq people was designed to be hung vertically. If the flag is hung horizontally it is always with the star on the upper corner.

    • An accurate population count is unknown but communities can vary in size from 3-5 hundred with some communities ranging in size of up to 3 thousand.

    • The Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) Nation are the Indigenous people of the Saint John River valley and its tributaries Their territory extended across the current borders of New Brunswick and Quebec in Canada, and parts of Maine in the United States. The Houlton band of Mailseet peoples, based in Maine, are the federally recognized tribe of Maliseet people in the United States.

  • Map of the 7 districts of Mi’kma’ki

  • Following is a map of the Atlantic region with all 34 individual communities shown. Each community has it’s own governing body consisting of a Chief and council. The number of council members is related to the size of the community. Some communities are closer together and others may appear distant. However, all communities are connected in some way whether through marriage or other family related ties.

  • Government

    The Mi’kmaq society has 3 levels of government. The Mi’kmaq Grand council was the sole form of government before

    contact with the Europeans. Changes in the role of the Grand Council are the result of efforts of the British Crown and federal government to impose its system upon Mi’kmaq people.

    • 1) The Grand Council: is the traditional aboriginal government of the Mi’kmaq nation. It draws it’s membership from all parts of Mi’kmaq territory, has both political and spiritual authority and continues to be the sovereign government of the Mi’kmaq today.

    • 2) Grand Chief: was a title given to one of the district chiefs, who at one time, was usually from the Mi'kmaq district of Unamáki (Cape Breton Island). This title was hereditary and usually was passed down to the Grand Chief's eldest son.

    • 3) Community Chief: who presides over individual communities along with other elected members called councilors. The chief of each community is an elected body from

  • Multicultural exchanges are what happens when one person , or a group of people, works or interacts with someone from a cultural group different from their own.

  • Indigenous peoples are no different than non-Indigenous

    peoples in respect to their basic wants and needs. We all

    want and need the support of loving, caring people

    around us. We all have a need to feel safe and welcomed

    in our immediate environment and surrounding

    community. WE are all searching that place to call HOME

    away from home.

  • Some may feel more at home than others.

  • TERMINOLOGY: So what do I use?

    Terminology, particularly as it relates to Indigenous peoples, can be tricky to navigate. A term that might be acceptable to some might be offensive to

    others. Because of this, many people do not feel confident using certain terms when referring to Aboriginal peoples. Fear of using the "wrong"

    word should never stifle important dialogue and discussions that need to be had.

    By taking a moment to consider the history of certain terms, it is very possible to learn and be comfortable with which words to use in which contexts. We have compiled this guide to help inform your decisions on


  • Why does terminology matter?

    The history of relationships between the Canadian state and Aboriginal peoples is complex, and has oftentimes been paternalistic and damaging. As a result, terminology can represent something more than just a word. It can represent certain

    colonial histories and power dynamics. Terminology can be critical for Indigenous populations, as the term for a group may not have been selected by the population themselves but instead imposed on them by colonizers. With this in mind, one might

    understand how a term can be a loaded word, used as a powerful method to divide peoples, misrepresent them, and control their identity—what we can see today in Canada with “status” and “non-status peoples," the legally defined categories of

    people under the Indian Act.

    On the other hand, terms can empower populations when the people have the power to self-identify. It is important to recognize the potential these words may hold— but it is also important and very possible to understand these terms well enough to feel confident in using them and creating dialogue. Although many First nations peoples may prefer to identify

    themselves by their specific cultural group, some definitions follow. As you will see, the most respectful approach is often to use the most specific term for a population when possible.

  • Definitions:


    - a formal agreement or contract between two or more governing bodies, such as an alliance or trade

    arrangement between the Crown and various Indigenous groups.

    During settlement and colonization, treaties were negotiated between the Crown and local Indigenous

    peoples, guided by the Royal proclamation of 1763. This Proclamation was a British Crown document

    which acknowledged that British settlers would have to address existing rights and title in order to

    further settlement. During these treaty negotiations, the then Crown, guaranteed certain rights to the

    local First Nations. There has been considerable debate, in and out of courts, as to whether or not

    these agreements extinguish Aboriginal rights set out in the treaties. For many First Nations, this

    debate is ongoing.

    For First Nations peoples the problem lies within the meaning of the signed agreement. Because of

    ‘language’ differences, the meaning was not always the same.

  • Aboriginal:

    By the Canadian government, the term “Aboriginal” refers to the first inhabitants of Canada, and includes First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. This term came into popular usage in Canadian texts after 1982, when section 35 of the Canadian Constitution defined the term as such and the Canadian government decided to include the Inuit and Métis into their policies. When used in Canada it is generally understood to refer to the Aboriginal peoples in a Canadian context.

  • First Nation:

    First Nation is a term used to describe Aboriginal peoples of Canada. Ethnically, this group is neither Métis nor Inuit. This term came into common usage in the 1970s and 80s and replaced the tern ‘Indian’, although unlike ‘Indian’, the term First Nation does not have a legal definition.

  • Inuit:

    This term refers to specific groups of people generally living in the far north who are not considered "Indians" under Canadian law.

  • Métis:

    The term Métis refers to a collective of cultures and ethnic identities that resulted from unions between Aboriginal and European people in what is now Canada. This term has general and specific uses, and the differences between them are often contentious. It is sometimes used as a general term to refer to people of mixed ancestry, whereas in a legal context, "Métis" refers to descendants of specific historic communities.

  • Indian:

    The term "Indian" refers to the legal identity of a First Nations person who is registered under the Indian Act. The term "Indian" should be used only when referring to a First Nations person with status under the Indian Act, and only within its legal context. Aside from this specific legal context, the term "Indian" in Canada is considered outdated and may be considered offensive due to its complex and often idiosyncratic colonial use in governing identity through this legislation and a myriad of other distinctions (i.e., "treaty" and "non- treaty," etc.). In the United States, however, the term "American Indian" and "Native Indian" are both in current and common usage. You may also hear some First Nations people refer to themselves as "Indians." While there are many reasons for an individual to self-identify as such, this may be a deliberate act on their part to position and present themselves as someone who is defined by federal legislation.

  • Indigenous:

    Indigenous is a term used to encompass a variety of Aboriginal groups. It is most frequently used in an international, transnational, or global context. This term came into wide usage during the 1970s when Aboriginal groups organized transnationally and pushed for greater presence in the United Nations (UN). In the UN, "Indigenous" is used to refer broadly t