Chinese Canadians and First Nations peoples (not mutually exclusive)

Zuky, now a Vancouverite and tumblogger, brings us news from the West Coast:

The Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC produced this short video explaining their project “Chinese Canadians and First Nations: 150 Years of Shared Experience”. The project was actually initiated by two UBC students of aboriginal ancestry, Amy Perreault and Karrmen Crey, who produced a short video entitled “Why Do Indians Like Chinese Food?”. When Karrmen Crey was growing up, her father used to tell her, “Do you know why Indians like Chinese food? Because Chinese restaurants were the only restaurants we were allowed in to eat.”

This is a trailer for Cedar and Bamboo, a 22-minute documentary exploring stories of people of Chinese and First Nations ancestry.

I was wondering why the older lady in the video had an accent if she was born in Vancouver, and then I realized that she grew up overseas in a Cantonese-speaking society and then returned to Vancouver when she was an adult.

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The Hidden Job Market – Whiteness Has Its Privileges

© Copyright 2010 by Joseph Worrell. Reproduced with permission on Restructure!.

In February 2006, The Canadian Labour Congress presented a disturbing study on Canadian workers. The report maintained that Canadian-born visible minorities faced the highest barriers to steady, well-paying jobs of any group in the country.

Post 911 Arab-West Asians came in first with a 14% unemployment rate, Blacks at 11.5% and Latin Americans at 10.5%. Aboriginal Canadians also failed to reap many job rewards but statistics curiously grouped them with unemployed Euro-Canadians.

The Labour Congress’ study caused a bit of quandary, except among those who are already “in the know” about the dilemma.

Leslie Cheung, of Simon Fraser University, declared the report could not disavow “workplace inequality with education disparities because non-White Canadians are better educated as a whole than native-born Whites and immigrants”. The Labour Congress predicts the situation to worsen as huge numbers of non-White young people enter the job market.

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‘I have native friends but this is going too far.’ – Alberton, Ontario resident

Native group-home proposal sparks racial tension in Ontario town (The Globe and Mail):

All Lori Flinders wanted was to build a group home for displaced native youth in the town of Alberton, Ont. What she encountered was a wave of local resistance that, to her, provided a lesson in reflexive racism.

[…]

The Alberton story takes place at a time when Canada is coming to grips with centuries of legislated bigotry through the federal residential-schools apology and the ongoing Truth and Reconciliation Commission. And it suggests, on the local level at least, that the stain of racial conflict has not gone away.

Since September, 2008, Weechi-it-te-win Family Services had been exploring the property in Alberton, a paper-mill town of about 1,000 people. It seemed an ideal setting for a children’s group home: 166 acres of nature trails, horse stables, an indoor arena and much of the flora used in local aboriginal medicine.

[…]

But then a flyer turned up in local mailboxes warning residents if they did not attend a June 24, 2009 meeting, “You will have a NON-SECURE NATIVE DETENTION CENTRE/GROUP HOME IN YOUR COMMUNITY.” The flyer concluded, “PLEASE! HELP KEEP YOUR COMMUNITY SAFE.”

Aside from the flyer’s factual distortion – none of the children would be involved with the courts – the racial undertones worried at least one resident.

Dorothy Friesen, who moved to Alberton to retire from a career of charity work and activism in the Philippines and Chicago, thought it was the work of “a few whackos” and that “we’d go to this meeting and outnumber them.” When she arrived at the Alberton Municipal Office that night, however, she found more than 150 people had turned out to oppose the centre.

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Vancouver 2010 pretends indigenous people have institutional power over Canada.

The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremonies were skillfully-done Canadian propaganda. The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) did so many things right for the opening ceremonies with respect to indigenous-related symbolism. However, the main problem with the opening ceremonies were that they gave the impression to the rest of the world that the Canadian government respects the rights of indigenous people, when indigenous peoples are the most marginalized ethnic groups in Canada.

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White people’s family roots are deeper than those of ethnic minorities.

Another example of white privilege and othering is when white people assume that racialized people have deeper roots and stronger family ties than white people. The othering is based on the notion that “non-white” people are foreign people, and that “non-white” people have a stronger ethnic identity because we are more homogeneous and monolithic in ways of thought. White privilege allows white people to ignore the ways in which a white-majority society encourages only white families to lay down their roots and blossom, while historically, it enacted laws to extinguish and suppress “non-white” and racialized families.

White Americans envy African Americans for having “roots” in “Africa”, while ignoring the fact that Africa is a heterogeneous continent (like Europe), and that most African Americans cannot trace their African ancestry precisely because of white racism and slavery. It is no accident that African Americans are more likely to find documents attesting to the existence of their white ancestors. White Americans whose ancestors have been in the United States for multiple generations are the ones with the deepest roots, the ones whose histories were allowed to be recorded, the ones who own property passed down from generations, when all this was denied to non-white people.

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In Canada, health care is not universal.

Sometimes objective criticism of your government can only come from a foreign news outlet. Jessica Yee, a Chinese-Mohawk woman from Toronto, has published an article in The Guardian, a British newspaper, about Canada’s deep-rooted discrimination against indigenous communities.

Last week, on June 23, 2009—during a swine flu outbreak that disproportionately affects impoverished First Nations reserves—Health Canada delayed shipping hand sanitizers to First Nations reserves, because they contained alcohol. The Canadian government was concerned that the hand sanitizers would fuel alcohol addiction among reserve communities. (That’s racist.)

Jessica Yee, in Canada’s swine flu shame (The Guardian), writes:

Let’s review the facts. In the two and a half weeks that the government deliberated over whether to send hand sanitiser to reserve communities, this is what happened:

• More swine flu cases developed

• Chiefs, community leaders, nurses and community health representatives scrambled to deal with the escalating outbreak without help from a non-responsive government

• Families, children, elders and community members in these areas had no choice but to wait and see if they were going to get any type of diagnosis or care as conditions worsened

• The wider Canadian population heard occasional reports of the virus developing more in First Nations communities but not enough to warrant a national outpouring of support.

Access to necessary healthcare services is an ongoing problem for many indigenous people around the world, and Canada is no exception. But universal healthcare and non-insured health benefits (which First Nations and Inuit individuals receive in Canada) don’t mean anything if you live somewhere you still cannot get household plumbing, let alone a visit to the doctor.

Read the rest of Canada’s swine flu shame at The Guardian.

Police threatened to charge aboriginal beating victim if he pressed charges.

In February, two security guards in Toronto allegedly beat an aboriginal man, sending him to the hospital with three broken ribs and a punctured lung. The security guards said, “You natives are nothing but trouble,” and said that natives were drunks and would never amount to anything.

When the victim, Cliff Hussin, wanted to lay criminal charges against the two security guards, the police told him that if he charged the security guards, the police would charge him as well. Hussin is on probation and out on bail from previous assault charges. As Hussin fears that he may land back in jail, he will likely not press charges against his assaulters. Read the rest of this entry »