David A. Robertson Profile picture
Sep 12, 2018 17 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
I have a bit more to say about #firstcontact, so bear with me:

I was walking with my mother the other day, from the coffee shop by my work and back to my office, and we were talking about the memoir I'm working on and how it ties into reconciliation. /1
And she said, "You know David, I hate how Indigenous Peoples have to validate their own existence." My dad has said something similar, too. That reconciliation, to him, is having a conversation, and in that dialogue, seeing past the stereotype. /2
So, what happens, then, when you force somebody to sit down, and force the other person to validate their existence? This is probably an unpopular opinion, but I'm going to share it anyway. I have an enormous problem with the construct of the show First Contact. /3
I watched the trailer, I've read about it. And that's what you have here. You have six white racist Canadians (they are racist, based on their shared beliefs in the trailer), and to change their minds… /4
to prove to them that Indigenous people are worthy of respect, of being looked at as human beings, you cart them around to communities and in front of Indigenous Peoples, and you make the Indigenous Peoples and communities prove their worth. /5
That they aren't the stereotype. That they are human beings who have been impacted by the historical trauma this country has levelled on them. I'm sorry, but it angers me to see this happening, in this way. /6
It is potentially traumatizing for Indigenous Peoples to see and hear these people spout their racist ideology, and it's problematic to show the lengths that have to be taken to change their minds. What message does it send? /7
Why is it always Indigenous Peoples who have to bend over backwards to prove our worth? There are books out there. There is music out there. There are organizations that are prepared to share information. /8
There are demonstrations. There is all the information you would ever need available to learn about the history of this country and the impact it has had. Why do we have to dance around and cater to ignorants? /9
Who is this show for, in the end? Look at the banner, and tell me that it isn't problematic. First Contact in big bold letters, and then six white people standing underneath it, their faces looking like… /10
"Okay, natives, prove to me that you're not drunken lazy Indians who don't get hand-outs." NO. That is not how this should work. Ever. /11
We have nothing to prove to you, and we owe you nothing. My dad has told me that in the larger scope of reconciliation, between Indigenous and settlers, it is the Indigenous Peoples who have NOTHING to reconcile. /12
We never did anything wrong, so why do we have to prove our worth to you? And why on a nationally televised reality program? /13
We need to construct a new reality where our worth is inherent, and this is not the way to do it. It sets a dangerous precedent and expectation that this is what is expected of us, to prove that we are humans deserving of respect to you. /14
There are better, and more productive ways. For me, I will concentrate on the youth. These attitudes will age out. The youth will change this country. /15
I will write my books, I will visit schools, and I will do the work that I need to do in my way, and share my truth to the people I know that I need to reach. /16
But I won't dance. Nobody should have to. /17

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