History allows us to examine our past in light of the present and make best choices for the future. As a student of history, I consider American Indian Studies very essential because they create a broader understanding of people and societies. History prevents exclusive reliance on the present data. Instead, it contains a storehouse of information that provides a sense of identity, inculcates moral understanding, and fosters good citizenship. I believe that Innes’s research offers an illumination of the untold stories of ethnic identities among indigenous communities.
Commentary on the Argument
The colonial government in Canada passed legislation that would impose a legal standard for identifying Canadian First Nations. The definitions would establish boundaries between different peoples of Canada. The idea of who would be categorized as Indian was vital at the time as it determined who would occupy First Nation’s lands and avoid potential conflicts. However, the irony of the definitions is that they were established by non-Indians, thereby precluding Indians from determining who was actually Indian. Innes reveals how the imposition of a legal definition undermined the collective values among Aboriginal societies. It is imperative to recognize that the Indian Act presented far-reaching implications on various elements of First Nation’s life. Fundamentally, it affected the management of resources like land, operations of band councils, and attempted to redefine kinship practices of First Nations. Here, the author makes a compelling argument on the social and economic ramifications of the Indian Act and how it affected the notions of identities among the First Nations.
Elder Brother Stories played a significant role in the development of identities among the members of Cowessess First Nation. The stories contained prescribed social interactions among these people. In fact, they contained the “laws of the people” which emphasized the need for harmony within the family, camp, and community. Every member of the band was expected to demonstrate strict adherence to the laws because any instance of violation was tantamount to negative consequences. In this argument, Innes affirms the cultural significance of stories among the Aboriginal societies. Trickster or transformer stories were used by these societies to inculcate philosophical ideas among generations. Children born into these communities were socialized by use of stories while adult members of the community were reminded of their strategic role in bringing up children according to current cultural dictates. For many years, Indians have used stories to reinforce the philosophical meanings. This research work gives several accounts of the use of stories by emphasizing previous studies by scholars such as John Borrows, Robert Cover, and Robert Williams.
Positionality identities among indigenous communities. Commentary on