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Aboriginal identity: the need for historical and contextual perspectives

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Employing a perspective that distinguishes between "identity" and "identifying" demonstrates the limitations inherent in typical conceptions of cultural identity. Identifying is situational and historical, shaped by the time and place in which it occurs, whereas identity is thought to transcend history and social situations. Identity is represented in the Indian Act and its definition of "Indian. " Metis efforts for recognition as an Aboriginal people in their own right is seen as identifying. The potential harm of identity is demonstrated by the Crown's arguments in the case for GitksanWet'suwet'en Aboriginal title.

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... Attention to Aboriginal identity has largely been from the legal system (Anderson, 2000;Lawrence, 2004;Restoule, 2000), where the Indian Act governs who is Indian and who is not. Shifting this power away from the Indian Act and toward Aboriginal people requires individual self-identification as the process of being and becoming what one is within a socio-political and cultural context (Restoule, 1999). ...
... The results suggest that personal identity is a vital part of Aboriginal identity attainment. Restoule (2000) has argued that personal and cultural domains of identity are inextricably linked. Restoule also makes the argument for including a historical and contextual perspective in Aboriginal identity research. ...
... The implications of the emergent category scheme extend the previous research (Anderson, 2000;Berry, 1999;Lawrence, 2004;Restoule, 2000) on Aboriginal cultural identity by providing empirically validated research that is formatted for counselling settings. Identity work with Aboriginal clients must attend to the interconnections and relationships among individuals' nested identities within self, family, culture, history, and community. ...
... This and other state legislation (i.e. the 1982 Constitution Act) that defines peoples as status or nonstatus First Nations, Métis or Inuit under the umbrella term Aboriginal can be highly divisive (Lawrence 2004). It is important to note that while these legislated identities were largely the constructs of the colonial state, they now reflect real differences among Aboriginal peoples based on different lived experiences and access to resources/rights, and have thus taken on deeper meaning (Restoule 2000;Lawrence 2004;Thobani 2007). ...
... Reserves are small sections of Aboriginal 5 The use of the term 'Aboriginal identity' does not adequately reflect or acknowledge the diversity of Aboriginal peoples' identities and cultures, and can thus serve to perpetuate the homogenization of this diversity. It is therefore imperative to acknowledge that while employing this term for the sake of brevity, the realities of Aboriginal identities can only really be understood by way of anti-essentialist conceptions of identity, which grapple with the fluidity and constant evolution and negotiation of identity (Comaroff and Commaroff 1991;Restoule 2000;Wilson 2003;Lawrence 2004;Silvey 2007). peoples' land partitioned off by the state for the 'use and benefit' of First Nations communities. ...
... In constructing this dichotomy (membership in one's Aboriginal community vs. Canadian citizenship), enfranchisement basically set up Aboriginality and Canadian nationality as incompatible with one another; one must be renounced for the other to be gained. Contemporarily, adherence to the ideal of equal or universal citizenship in Canada frames those Aboriginal peoples who resist assimilation into settler society by asserting their sovereignty as ingrates who are unfairly seeking special rights that other Canadian citizens do not have(Restoule 2000;Thobani 2007). It seems that seeking a universal Canadian citizenship inclusive of Aboriginal peoples presupposes the erasure of the fundamental political differences that distinguish the first peoples of the land that is now Canada and the generations of settler Canadians that have unjustly appropriated this land. ...
... Literature pertaining to Ogweho:weh identity, especially as it relates to education is not plentiful. Overall identity as Ogweho:weh people was discussed by Restoule, (2000) as an encrypted articulation of culture and place overlaid against the legal status and definitions offered by government. Additionally, King, Walters and Wells (in Ward & Bouvier, 2001) 109 Historically Ogweho:weh authors and researchers have fallen into the categories of post-colonial, anti-colonial or decolonial theorist (see for example the works of Battiste, Battiste and Henderson, Cajete, Deloria, Haig-Brown, L.T. Smith). ...
... This Ogweho:weh identity research, based on Mäori peoples, was accepted by many as a formula for identity construction. Restoule (2000) says that we can no longer utilize Fitzgerald's original formula (biology + culture + class = identity) as socio-economic status and cultural practice has not been a constant in Ogweho:weh societies since the 1900's. I agree with Restoule's statement as I also understand Ogweho:weh peoples as dynamic people living in a multi-cultural world and within a variety of socio-economic and cultural situations. ...
... Even the words commonly used to describe Ogweho:weh people have produced different emotional values and concepts of identity for different people. Restoule (2000) stated that he has used each of the common terms in his writing including Native, Indian, and Aboriginal. He states that he uses the term Aboriginal because it is commonly used and viewed by most Canadians as being representative of all North American peoples regardless of status. ...
... 17) Cherubini (2010) goes on to suggest that it is problematic to treat a student's selfidentification as a permanent statement of their identity. According to Restoule (2000), identifying, which is specific and contextual, should be understood differently from a permanent, fixed identity. It appears, however, that the Ministry is taking students' contextual identifications and turning them into permanent and reified identities by fixing them in student records. ...
... Such an effort should utilize a combination of strategies aimed at decolonizing the mainstream educational experience and increasing opportunities for the educational self-determination of Indigenous communities (Aquash, 2013;Battiste, 2011;Redwing Saunders & Hill, 2007). It should also gather and maintain the collected self-identification data in a way that allows for variability in how students self-identify over time and between contexts (Restoule, 2000). It is also possible, however, that the data will be separated from its stated purpose of evaluating specific and targeted programs, and used instead in one of two ways to reinforce the status quo. ...
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This paper analyzes the 2007 Ontario First Nation, Métis, and Inuit Education Policy Framework, alongside its 2014 Implementation Plan. Content analysis is used to determine what specific actions are prioritized in each document, first through a quantitative analysis of the various strategies put forth, then a qualitative analysis of what larger purpose these strategies might indicate. The findings suggest a significant shift in the 2014 document away from substantive action and toward data management, specifically in regard to encouraging Indigenous student self-identification. Previous Ministry publications had called for the self-identification of Indigenous students as a necessary first step to developing targeted programming for these students. However, coming just two years before the 2016 target date for the original plan laid out in the Framework, it seems unlikely that this belated emphasis on self-identification in the Implementation Plan is for the originally stated purpose of establishing baseline data to implement and evaluate specific programs. Instead, it is suggested that the new self-identification data may be used as a type of symbolic policy, to obscure the absence of substantive change. Conversely, it is suggested that the Ministry of Education should establish a new baseline of self-identified Indigenous students and a renewed strategy, beginning in 2016, to implement specific, targeted programming for these students.
... Further, one of them would at times make remarks that were disparaging to Aboriginal people, distancing himself as a white person, and criticize injection drug users specifically, despite the fact that he was an injection drug user himself. Restoule (2000) argues that 'identity' suggests fixedness and empowers the observer who is defining, whereas 'identifies' captures the fluidity of the process of "becoming and being what one is in the moment" (p. 103) empowering the self to own Indigenous ancestry at a particular place and time. ...
... (p. 102) Or, as Pinneault and Patterson (in Restoule, 2000) write: ...
... The constitution of this penal subject through institutionally promoted discourses on Aboriginality 'can be constrictive and colonizing, especially when Aboriginal identity assumes a permanence and rigidity that is co-opted by [penal] institutions' (Martel and Brassard, 2008: 347;Restoule, 2000). The process of establishing EAH policies, perhaps unwittingly, involves the essentialisation of various customs and practices 'as being necessarily traditional and timeless' (Buchanan and Darian-Smith, 2011: 121). ...
Article
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The increasing ‘diversity’ of penal populations in most western countries over the past three decades raises questions as to the fairness and appropriateness of established penal programmes and practices. In some jurisdictions, penal policy-makers and administrators are being forced to deal with the implications of offender diversities, including race, ethnicity, gender, culture and religion, in policy and planning. In Canada, the pervasive over-representation of Aboriginal individuals in prisons has led to calls for change in how the corrections and parole systems deal with Aboriginal prisoners. This article examines the advent of one ‘culturally appropriate’ adaptation of the parole process, the Elder assisted hearing, introduced in 1992 by the Parole Board of Canada as a means of (1) addressing the problem of over-representation and (2) being responsive to Aboriginal difference. It shows that the ‘Aboriginalisation’ of parole hearing formats is by no means a straightforward process, and is illustrative of the broader challenges that racial, cultural and gender differences pose to contemporary penality.
... (Donald, 2003, p. 114) In his statement, Aamsskáápohkitópii is clearly expressing frustration over the limitations of essentialist definitions and (mis)conceptions of Aboriginal identity, as well as the ambiguity of confronting the Imaginary Indian on a daily basis. As Restoule (2000) observes: ...
Article
People tell stories not only to remember, but also to hope. Neal McLeod (2002, p. 43) 'I want you to remember only this one thing,' said the Badger. 'The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them anywhere they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That is why we put these stories in each other's memories. This is how people care for themselves.' Barry Lopez (1990, p. 48) A few years ago, I went with my family to visit the cabin that my dad was raised in. From the time he was an infant, Dad lived with his grandma in a cabin in the area of Cooking Lake, Alberta. He was fifteen years old when she died, and he made the decision to move into the city of Edmonton. This meant leaving the cabin and the community behind. The cabin is an important place for us to visit because being out there brings 1 Pentimento: the phenomenon of earlier painting showing through a layer or layers of paint on a canvas. (Canadian Oxford Dictionary). This concept for a title is derived from Seed, P. (2001). American pentimento: The invention of Indians and the pursuit of riches.
Aboriginal identity: The need for historical and contextual perspectives Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/230307861?accountid=14771 _______________________________________________________________ Contact ProQuest Copyright © 2014 ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved
  • Jean-Paul Restoule
Jean-Paul Restoule. (2000). Aboriginal identity: The need for historical and contextual perspectives. Canadian Journal of Native Education, 24(2), 102-112. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/230307861?accountid=14771 _______________________________________________________________ Contact ProQuest Copyright © 2014 ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. -Terms and Conditions 07 December 2014 Page 2 of 2