The film opens with an introduction by the host, Wab Kinew… he
explains how the 8th Fire is a time for the coming together of all peoples. He also tells us No guilt, Just truth. These documentaries are intended to educate the non-Native population about the effects of colonization on the people and their culture. I personally found the content disturbing, very blame ridden and guilt laden. If this approach was unsettling for me and I have a very close relationship with my Native Brothers and Sisters; I can only imagine how alienating it will be for someone who has little exposure to, or understanding of Native culture. In other words, I am afraid this approach will scare away the very people who most need to see these documentaries. Our Aboriginal / Native/ Indigenous/ NDN/ First Nations people are pissed off and justifiably so. They are literally being held hostage (enslaved) by an antiqated piece of patriarchal legislation, that should have been scraped 100 years ago.
But if the people interviewed in the 8TH FIRE series are to be taken at their word they are as prejudice toward Whites as they believe Whites are toward them. This anger is misdirected. During the 1960s when feminism hit its stride MEN /MALES were being blamed for the ills wroght by patriarchy, in the 1990s we began to recognize patriarchy as a political entity which was unkind to anyone who was not a wealthy landowner. I don’t like seeing First Nations making the same mistake. Colonization and government policies spawned under colonialism are the GUILTY PARTY. Every colonized people from the beginning of time (regardless of colour) has suffer similarly or been completely wiped out; how many Druids do you know. On a more contemporary note you can look at Palestine for example, shared injustice does not make it any less wrong. Just as the German people were kept in the dark about the holocaust; so the vast majority of Canadians were in the dark about the true nature of and purpose for residential schools.
Recently one woman said to me, “I hate Indians”, I looked at her a little bit shocked, and she continued, “it’s o.k. cause they hate us”. Let me be the first to say, "Hate is NEVER o.k." When stereotypes are challenged, you will hear, what I heard, “Well, sure, but those are the good ones”… what does that even mean? Rest assured I have heard this from Natives as well as Whites. In my Angels of the Road blog, “Deaf No More”, I talk about the importance of dialogue… of truly coming to know each other after all these centuries.
Personally I have supported self-determination for First Nations, for many years; but I had the good fortune to have Native Brothers and Sisters who were kind enough to teach me (no guilt, no blame). Now when faced with ignorance I take that opportunity to share what I have learned. If non-Natives were just educated about the situation; many more would join the cause of Idle No More. And perhaps if Natives really got to know their White Brothers and Sisters, they would welcome them as partners for change. The spirit has NO colour; Equality, Justice and Freedom belong every Canadian.
So I recommend you all watch the 8TH FIRE series from CBC… learn what you can and don’t be alienated or frightened by the anti-white racist rhetoric. Remember, the best way to end racism is to get to know your neighbour; be present, be yourself and be colour-blind.
Have a joyous day.