Imagine Django being created in a Canadian context – with Aboriginals instead of black slaves.

Is it crazy to even think that? How crazy is it though? 

There’s been a lot of talk and controversy about the content in Django Unchained and how if it was any other director or if it was made in any other country it probably wouldn’t have been received as well as it did. So imagine if some Canadian director decided to direct and write this movie. Would he have done it in a Canadian context and instead of black slaves it would be a revenge story of Canadian Natives who had their land, culture, language, and rituals stripped away from them? Would it be just as economically successful, do you think?

I can’t claim to know all the answers to these questions but I will say – I would watch a movie like that. In fact, I think Canada NEEDS a movie like that. Heck, I’ll write it! 

I just think the Natives of Canada truly need to be heard by our so-called multicultural country.

I wrote a position piece recently, on the fact that it’s really strange how Canada can be considered such a multicultural society (actually a lot of us take pride in describing our country as such), when we actually aren’t. We may be welcoming and accepting of other ethnicities and cultures and all that jazz, but we are not really all that multicultural. Here’s the piece I wrote – may it be some food for thought:

            Multiculturalism is the over-used adjective to describe Canada. The question that should be asked here is “why?” Is it true that very few countries in the world can boast of the cultural diversity found here? And what makes Canada more multicultural than the USA? Perhaps many people could argue that they generally have a “melting pot” culture. However, although Canada may be multicultural in the sense that there are people here of many different races and cultures, there are those who can argue that this does not prevent us from being disconnected from the other cultures that are not our own. Can one really say that by occasionally eating Chinese, Indian, Thai, Mexican, Portuguese, or French food that would make you a multicultural person? Let’s be honest with ourselves.

            It is not to say that there aren’t multitudes of people of different races and ethnicities that co-exist in Canada, because indeed there are. However, there is a disconnect between cultures. What is truly practiced here is selective multiculturalism. For example, one may find a number of restaurants that provide different ethnic foods, but one would rarely find other forms of cultural representations such as dress, language, and rituals in the same cities.

            Take a moment to think about the Aboriginals – or more specifically, think about them keeping in mind the historical relationship between the Natives and the European immigrants in Canada. The immigrants, who put the Aboriginals in reserves, did little to facilitate a harmonious existence between them. The foundation of this relationship is still evident today, when you think about the fact that the Aboriginals practice their rituals geographically separate from their Canadian counterparts. This historical and continuing cultural separation in itself, to a certain extent, reflects the kind of multiculturalism we have today. The alienation of Natives have not been effectively addressed, since the cultural divide is continuously increasing, and efforts to promote integration have been inadequate. As a result, it’s difficult to understand how multiculturalism can be said to exist when this crucial relationship with the peoples of Canada depicts so many flaws.

            In many ways, Canada has fallen short in this description of being a multicultural country. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Canada is on its way to achieving an ideal multicultural society – because it certainly hasn’t reached this status yet. The reality at the end of the day is that Canada is young, and we have to give our country a break. Maybe Canada is still trying to find its identity. Do we want Canada to be known as a truly multicultural country? Then it is up to us Canadian citizens to work towards that admirable goal and make it happen.

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2 thoughts on “Imagine Django being created in a Canadian context – with Aboriginals instead of black slaves.

  1. Kimberly, thought provoking post. Your comment about Canada being so young, brought to mind the following passage from Douglas Coupland’s “Souvenir of Canada” (also posted at the O’Canada blog at http://ocanadablog.com/2013/01/12/douglas-couplands-souvenir-of-canada/):

    “. . . Canada is a staggeringly young country, and we really ought to be easier on ourselves than we are. We beat ourselves up trying to define ourselves when, comparatively, we’ve generated more myth and identity in our short lifespan than many countries ever did before their 135th birthdays. There’s only so much national mythology that can be created in 135 years. Relax.

    “An added bonus of being young is that you’re not, well old. So the future belongs to you — you can still make your country what you want it to be, and you can protect it from what you don’t want it to be. Most countries have permanently locked into their myths and identities and their time for experimenting is over.”

    Best, Brett

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