2 Reflective Questions: Erasure of Indigenous knowledge and its impact on culture

Reflective & Discussion Questions

  1. As the author noted, before the 1950s, the Canadian government made the Ceremonies of The Blackfoot and other Plains Nations illegal. Reflect on how in today’s consumer culture, Indigenous symbols, rituals, and culture are often used in fashion, home decorating, and design (such as arrows, tipis, and headdresses). How do these represent cultural appropriation?
  2. How is the depiction of Canada’s “war” to win the west an example of “whitewashing“? What marketing examples exist in pop culture (movies, television, literature, character archetypes) that perpetuate and uphold the false narrative that the west was “won”?
  3. Who is Chief Winnetou and how has this characterization created both a pervasive archetype in cultural expressions (movies, television, literature)? How has this narrative contributed to toxic masculinity?
  4. Contrast and compare gendered roles as described by the author versus mainstream marketing messages today.
  5. The author writes: “We leave the Berry as an offering to ensure that we always have food, and this offering ensures a new growth of food wherever we go.” Discuss the significance of food as part of a cultural system. How does this act of giving also align with the Blackfoot Way of Life model?
  6. How does the author’s depiction of the Blackfoot’s relationship to the land conflict with the archetypes and stereotypes of Plains Nations Peoples in marketing? Can you discuss this more broadly in the context of the 15th Century climate event and cooling of the earth due European colonization of the Americas?
  7. Discuss how marketing shapes perception by searching for archived advertisements and old images used by the Canadian government throughout the 19th and 20th centuries that encouraged European settlement of western Canada. How did the government’s marketing strategy uphold the myth of “terra nullius”?
  8. Discuss how the Plains Nations used norms and mores, encoded into a cultural context, to uphold the perpetuity of both culture, land, and life. How does this contrast with the stereotypes represented in the dominant culture’s marketing of Indigenous Peoples today?
  9. The appropriation of Indigenous knowledge is an important theme in the author’s work. Discuss how Abraham Maslow’s work is considered cultural appropriation. What other examples of cultural appropriation are profoundly seen in marketing today?
  10. The author writes, “See, if the people have no knowledge of who they are, then any jackass can come along in a position of authority and tell them who they are.” Discuss how this impacts self-identity. How is this sentiment also evidenced in consumer marketing messages today?
  11. What amounts to our understanding of the word “culture“?
    • Discuss how the removal (or “disconnection” as the author expresses) of one or more cultural features can erode a culture and lead to cultural genocide.
    • Can culture be perpetuated and upheld for future generations if cultural acts are banned, forbidden, removed, or found to be illegal if practiced? How?
    • How does cultural erasure lead to stereotyping?
    • What does “pan-Indigenous” mean? How has cultural erasure now created a climate of unreasonable expectations such that, “As Indigenous People; we are forced to take on a lot of the world, have to defend entire Tribes, an entire “race” of People without even knowing where to start, we are expected to be experts on Indigenous issues, and anti-racism.”
  12. The author writes, “We are expected to be drunks, addicts, traumatized, or activities.” How are these examples of stereotypes and what marketing examples are evidence of these?



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