Why is this always the way we portray indigenous people in the mainstream media? Why does it always seem like they are primitive, backward, or in some way inferior?
Daniel Justice, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Literature and Expressive Culture at the University of British Columbia, asks these questions. He wants to unmake this oppressive settler-colonial reality that we’re living.
“..rarely are we seen as fully-fleshed, complicated, interesting, funny, and loving human beings. We’re denied that in the popular representations,” says Professor Justice. He believes that indigenous literatures and other artistic productions can give indigenous people back that sense of wholeness.
Professor Justice himself authored “Our Fire Survives the Storm: A Cherokee Literary History”, “The Way of Thorn and Thunder”, an Indigenous epic fantasy series, and numerous other essays in the field of Indigenous literary studies.
Indigenous peoples are not fundamentally flawed, rather we don’t have a proper understanding of their culture or history.