Portrayal ofAboriginal People inTextbooks andCurriculaJorrel Camuyong
Pages from Canada’s StoryWho calls?The Red Man, Poor and SickHe calls.Who comes?The White Man, Rich and StrongHe comes.Who watches?To see that Pity Reigns.God watches.
Method• Articles• Archives• Curriculum 1962-1973• Two textbooks • CANADA: Then and Now by Aileen Garland (1954) • Grade 8 • Canadians in the making: A social history of Canada by Arthur R.M. Lower (1958) • Grade 11
Why Textbooks?• First, or only, resource• Keep in mind who writes them• They are criticized for their tendency to present slanted “facts”, stereotypes and ethnocentric attitudes under the guise of “proven knowledge”; they are criticized for reflecting a White middle-class society and for denigrating the contributions of minority racial groups. These books, consciously or unconsciously, are believed to promote, reinforce and perpetuate racial and ethnic bias. Verna Kirkness, 1977
What did the publishers do?• The publishing industry’s earliest response to criticism was to colour white faces brown or black or to “write in” Blacks, Indians, or other ethnic minorities. (Kirkness)• Some Canadian government Departments of Education have responded merely by asking teachers to “cut out” pages that have been identified as most objectionable. (Kirkness)
How did they move forward?• 7th Annual Indian and Metis Conference of 1961 discussions: • Textooks being used in social studies courses tended to “promote a patronizing and degrading attitude on the part of white people toward Indians” • These texts may be harmful to the Indian child’s sense of racial dignity • Sections inaccurately depict Indian life
Resolution• THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that this 7th Indian and Metis Conference seek to have such school textbooks discontinued as are patronizing and degrading to Indians and to have new textbooks or revisions dealing with Indian life written with accuracy and sympathetic treatment.
Types of Bias in Textbooks1. Bias by Omission2. Bias by Defamation3. Bias by Disparagement4. Bias by Cumulative Implication5. Bias by (lack of) Validity6. Bias by Inertia7. Bias by Obliteration8. Bias by Disembodiment9. Bias by lack of Concreteness10. Bias by lack of Comprehensiveness
Some of my findings This was the prescribed textbook for Grade 8 Social Studies in 1968. Published in 1954, the book was probably used before then, and was used afterwards.
Some of my findingsPage 11• The Canadian Government, realizing that some provision must be made for these unfortunate people, set up a department of the government called the Indian Affairs Branch to look after their welfare. Since it is no longer possible for a large number of people to make a living in Canada by hunting and fishing, the Indians must take up other ways of supporting themselves. It is the aim of the Indian Affairs Branch to help the Indians to become self-supporting in the modern world. “
Some of my findingsPage 64• Champlain had not been long in Quebec before he had missionaries brought out, for one of his fondest dreams was that the Indians might be converted to Christianity. The task of carrying the gospel into the huron country was entrusted to the Jesuits, a strong and powerful order of monks. The story of their missions is a proud and glorious page in the history of Canada. They endured incredible hardships and many of them sacrificed their lives in their heroic attempt to save the souls of the Indians.
Some of my findings• Canadians in the making: A social history of Canada by Arthur R.M. Lower• This book starts with New France, and doesn’t even address anything before that.PREFACE – PAGE xv• “no one has tried to put things together in an effort to depict the growth of the country as a whole, and throughout its history”PAGE 10:• “The French at Quebec had no excessive prejudice in favour of soap. By our fastidious standards, their cleanliness left much to be desired, but they were more particular than the Indians. The accounts they left behind them are full of the disgust they experienced for the more revolting aspects of native beastliness…though if you were going to go among the Indians, it had been taken as all in the days work.”
Some of my findingsCurriculum• 1967 Grade 3 Social Studies Curriculum • Focus was on History and the study of “man” • There seemed to be a push towards debunking former ideas of Native Americans in the unit on Plains Indians • “to reject mistaken ideas and to learn new correct ones” (p.12) • “both the Indian and white man did not understand each other and their ways” (p.12) • “Indians are not dirty, lazy or alcoholic by nature” (p.12)
Some of my findingsCurriculum• A support document was printed in 1968 called• Social Studies Supplement for Grades 1, 2, 3 • Developed primarily for classes containing Indian and Metis as well as white children • “In teaching a mixed class of Indian and white children care should be taken to emphasize the similarities of the two groups rather than the differences” (p.9)
Some of my findings“It is hoped that teachers in city and town schoolswill use this supplement in contrasting their ownparticular situations, for with the rapidlyexpanding program of integrating children ofIndian and Metis background with town and cityschools, it is important that non-Indian childrenlearn as much as possible about their Indiancounterpart” (p.9)
Some of my findingsCurriculum• There was a support document created printed in the late 60s that was called:• Social Studies Supplement for Grade 8 • Native Studies: Indian Contributions to World Culture • Topics include: Food, conservation practices, music, drama, dance, literature, paintings, design, transportation, recreation, medicine, communication, language shelter, personalities (celebrities) • A step in the right direction.