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Indigenous vs Aboriginal

January 19, 2012

I like the way Strong-Wilson presents her argument about using these terms (in an American context, but relevant all the same) as she explains her own choice of terminology:

“…there are those who argue that behind the widespread use of ‘Aboriginal’ lies yet another colonial co-optation of identities: “‘aboriginalism’ is a legal, political and cultural discourse designed to serve an agenda of silent surrender to an inherently just relation at the root of the colonial state itself’ (Alfred & Corntassel, 2005, p.598). The term ‘Indigenous,’ in the wake of such international forums as the United Nations Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, has the advantage of emphasizing solidarity among Indigenous peoples and thus, resistance to colonialism. Since the subject matter of this paper concerns resistance to simulacra, I have opted to use the more globally inclusive term. To avoid generic appellations of Indigeneity, however, and to be consistent with citation practices in the research literature (e.g., Hoy, 2001), I also identify the tribal affiliations of Indigenous scholars.” (55)


(bold, green emphasis mine) Teresa Strong-Wilson (2008) ‘Turtles All the Way: Simulacra and Resistance to Simulacra in Indigenous Teachers’ Discussion of Indigenous Children’s Literature’  Children’s Literature in Education 39: 53-74

Quoting: Alfred, G.T., & Corntassel, J. (2005). Being Indigenous: Resurgences against contemporary colonialism. Government and Opposition, 40(4), 697-614.

Hoy, H. (2001). How should I read these?: Native women writers in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.


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