A Common Hunger: Land Rights in Canada And South Africa by Joan G. Fairweather PDF

By Joan G. Fairweather

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Extra resources for A Common Hunger: Land Rights in Canada And South Africa (Missing Voices Series)

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And museums in Vancouver and Ottawa. In the perception of many Western people, aboriginal oral traditions epitomize what is different and “other” to their own written histories and traditions. Missionaries who came to North America in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries tried to capture the mystical quality of oral literature by devising orthographies for the North American languages. But their purpose was not to preserve the culture: it was to create tools for proselytizing the Christian faith and thereby subvert the influence of the shamans and traditional storytellers.

When Europeans arrived on the continent of North America in the sixteenth century, they encountered well-established societies fully engaged in highly competitive trading operations. In his study of Tsimshian culture, Jay Miller describes the fierce conflicts that took place between coastal communities before the arrival of Europeans. ¹⁹ As happened in southern Africa, North American Indians at first welcomed the Europeans as potential trading and military partners. According to the accounts of early explorers on Canada’s east coast, two fleets of Mi’kmaq canoes (some forty or fifty of them) greeted French explorer Jacques Cartier in 535 in Chaleur Bay, eager for fresh opportunities to trade.

As Brody, who attended the trial, writes: Her voice was strong, and the sadness of the lament was clear, anguished and startling … It did not belong in this court, against the opposition of the judge, resounding in his tin ear. ³⁴ For the Gitxsan people in court, the song evoked memories of loss and starvation. But not everyone was moved. The judge, whose indignation was conveyed in his hunched shoulders, expressed his displeasure and non-comprehension by ruling the oral testimony of the claimants inadmissible.

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