Blood Tribe study examines impact of racism

 By Ryan Clarke

 Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Blood Tribe is releasing a study addressing racism in the area.

The study was conducted by Dr. Gabrielle Lindstrom of Mount Royal  University and a Kainai member. It was achieved through the tribal  government application for funding from the Alberta Human Rights  Commission’s Human Rights Education and Multiculturism Fund to conduct a  research project examining the effects of racism on members of the  Blood Tribe Community.

The study was conducted over a two-year  period with Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants from southern  Alberta with assistance from tribal government staff.

The project  shows how the issue of racism is complex and deep-rooted, having  lasting generational effects, and how steps need to be taken to address  the issues many Indigenous people are facing.

“The difficulty  with addressing racism is partly due to how it is defined which shapes  how it is both talked about and taught about. The definition of racism  has typically been controlled by the dominant settler society. However,  this research defines racism from a lens of deep experience consistent  with a Kainai worldview,” said Lindstrom in a news release.

The  Blood Tribe will be working on an implementation plan,  Kimmapiiyipitssini _ Moving Forward, that will work on external and  internal strategies for reaching out to the community for input.

Neighbouring communities and municipalities will be provided an  opportunity to participate in the work as they address the harmful  effects of racism.

“With the implementation plan, hopefully  people will not be reluctant. By people, I mean with our neighbours, the  municipalities, cities, and the services providers,” said Dorothy First  Rider, chair for tribal government and member of the Blood Tribe chief  and council.

“They will be able to reflect on what has happened  in the past, maybe what they themselves have contributed towards the  issue of racism, beginning to address it and say we need to change our  outlook on this. Because if somebody isn’t the same colour as us,  doesn’t mean that they’re inferior to us. “

First Rider notes that part of the plan will work towards the future through how children are exposed to race and racism.

“One of the prominent factors that was identified in this study was the  need to be able to introduce these frank discussions within the school  system,” said First Rider.

“We have to quit stereotyping other  people. A lot of that, unfortunately, rests on the educational system.  Because if we can assist those upcoming students that are going to then  transition into the institutions and become professionals, they will be  able to assist in changing the worldview,”

First Rider says  racism’s history within the Indigenous community has existed since the  eras when treaties were signed, the whiskey traders plied their trade,  and residential schools operated, and is not something that is just now  emerging.

She notes the lasting effects have generational consequences to the growth of a person as a human being.

“Unfortunately, when our people continue to experience racism, that  leads to a lack of self-confidence and self-motivation because they  themselves will start to see themselves as being inferior,” said First  Rider.

“In order to thrive in society and be successful, people  need to be able to have support. Building up their confidence and being  told, yes you can do this.”

 

  Ryan Clarke is a  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter who works for the

LETHBRIDGE HERALD. The LJI is a federally funded program. Turtle Island News does not receive LJI funding.

Add Your Voice

Is there more to this story? We'd like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Contribute your voice on our contribute page.