the natives aren’t necessarily friendly because they’re such happy-go-lucky, carefree and jolly folks.
Sometimes, and in the context of tourism I don’t even hesitate to say EVERY SINGLE TIME, it’s because of adire economic, political and social imbalance between you, the consumer, and the natives—the consumed. And make no mistake, when you put “omg friendly exotic ppl” down on your experiences list, you are likening them to product rather than producer/marketer/seller.
Once again it is an act of consumption, not participation or exchange. In fact nothing could be further than “exchange” from a relationship that is so inequitable that there isn’t even another party in the true sense. There is no exchange.
It isn’t bad enough that Canadian First Nations are living in poverty, that some don’t have actual schools, or that that advocates for First Nations children had to take their concerns to the United Nations in the hopes of improving the lives of of an entire race of people.
No, apparently, it wasn’t bad enough at all.
Health Canada has just cut 100% of their funding for the Native Women’s Association of Canada. These funds go to run programs dealing with early childhood development, diabetes, HIV, FASD, youth mental health promotion and suicide prevention and Aboriginal health human resources development.
Why doesn’t the Federal government just give them some infected blankets and be done with it?
Reading the news this morning was hard; what with the ongoing Breivik court case and everything else from back home, I would have preferred to not also have to read about things that in many ways resonate with my own school experiences. Yesterday, two brothers at a school in Liksjoe (Lycksele, Sweden) were forbidden to speak their indigenous language with each other, something which happened in my school as well, when I grew up.
When I grew up, speaking any language but Swedish meant spending the afternoon in detention where you would be told off for not thinking about the Swedish majority’s feelings - it was always assumed that we had been trash-talking Swedes if we dared use another language - and this in turn was then used as a way to deny people the right to study their own languages at all.
And by denying us the right to speak our highly endangered languages, they’re effectively killed off. In a world where intra-generational language transmission is coming to a halt, the schools have a vital role to play in the revitalization of our languages and this shows that Sweden as a nation simply couldn’t care less.
Before I go into any great detail about the news, however, let’s all remember that I am 25 years old and that it’s only nine years since I left the Swedish compulsory school system. Nine years is a very short time and yet for a country which constantly portrays itself as a Jeanne of Arc of human rights and equality, one would think that the days of forbidden languages would be long gone.
But apparently I was wrong.
Knowing how to speak, write and read your language is an important part of developing your own identity - if you cannot use your own language, you’ll likely try to suppress the parts of it that you’ve been denied.
To forbid someone from speaking their own language is to take their voice and ritually kill it in front of their eyes: it is the physical manifestation of a negative answer to Spivak’s question ‘Can the Subaltern Speak ?’
Now as back then, the reason as to why the school outlawed the speaking of any other language but Swedish can be summed up as a vague ‘it’s to support immigrants who otherwise wouldn’t learn how to speak Swedish properly’ and now as then this claim is completely wrong and only shows how ingrained the idea of the divine Swede is in Swedish society.
Even when we actively discriminate against others, we frame it in a way where our actions can be interpreted as a way of aiding the poor non-Swedes. Sweden is a prime example of a country who still believes and actively promotes the idea of a white man’s burden and there have been so many obvious examples of this in the news as of lately that I’m starting to reconsider my decision to move back to Sweden if I end up with the paid PhD I’m short-listed for.
Fuck it all to hell.
Bolded for the astounding and heart-breaking parts.
This is still happening.
We are still denied the space for using and developing our languages and cultures in myriads of overt and covert ways. In 2012.
And we *keep* hearing about Sweden as an unracist paradise.