Could First Nation and Inuit peoples and Europeans live together in harmony, given their different worldviews? Why or why not?

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This is a complex and controversial question. I cannot answer it in its entirety here, but hopefully I can raise some points for you to think about and a few resources that may help you in your assignment. I’m a Canadian, so many of my references are specific to Canada.

In order for First Nations, Inuit, and European cultures to live in harmony, the first step must be to acknowledge the problem. In 2015, Maclean’s magazine published a powerful article about Canada’s race problem. The author, Scott Gilmore, ends the article with these words:

If we want to fix this, the first step is to admit something is wrong. Start by saying it to yourself, but say it out loud: "Canada has a race problem."

Acknowledging the problem and acknowledging the wrongs of history are the first step in reconciliation. Richard Wagamese is an Ojibway author whose extended family was ravaged by residential schools; he has written a novel, Indian Horse, which brings to light some of the abuses suffered in these institutions. In his nonfiction book One Native Life, Wagamese encourages all Canadians to first take the time to listen to each other’s stories. Simply hearing perspectives between cultures and hearing each other’s stories can be a healing process. As an Indigenous man who experienced great loss as a result of one culture dominating the other, Wagamese shares his story of moving toward healing and embracing forgiveness, giving hope for a way forward.

Finally—and this is probably the most controversial and complex part—to live in harmony would require changes to be made to the existing situation. If we acknowledge the wrongs of history and if we acknowledge existing injustices, we then need to move forward toward solutions. For instance, if Europeans made treaties—legal documents—and then broke them, thereby breaking trust, how can that relationship be rebuilt? While we can’t undo history, how can we pursue justice today in light of the past?

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