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A man and young boy paddling a canoe are silhouetted on the Sunshine Coast near xwilkway (Halfmoon Bay), B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The Conversation: Respectful canoeing means acknowledging Indigenous authority over the land and water

June 17, 2024 — 

As written in The Conversation by Bruce Erickson, Assistant Professor of Geography, University of Manitoba:

In a satirical look at canoeing in Canada, Ojibway comedian and author Drew Hayden Taylor once joked “every time a non-native person whitewater canoes down the Madawaska River, or goes kayaking off Tobermory, they should first take an Aboriginal person out to lunch.”

This would, for Taylor, act as a way of showing respect and gratefulness. Taylor’s essay pokes fun at the economic, cultural and geographic dimensions of canoeing as a national pastime.

June 26 is National Canoe Day in Canada, and I think we should keep Taylor’s critique in mind as we consider how best to celebrate canoeing and all it offers. As an object and pastime that has been adopted and appropriated by settler Canadians as a national symbol, Taylor makes it clear there is a debt owed to Indigenous people for this appropriation.

 Ready the full article. 

Research at the University of Manitoba is partially supported by funding from the Government of Canada Research Support Fund.


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