Volume 90, Issue 73

Tuesday, February 4, 1997



Native students face name calling, ignorance

The University of Western Ontario itself seems to be a very conservative place. I am currently in my third year of honours sociology and I still feel as though I am not fitting in.

During Clubs Week the university offers the student body a chance to join others with whom they might share the same interests. This is where I found others of First Nations descent – it was a relief finding people like me.

It is no surprise to encounter many forms of discrimination here on campus or anywhere in Canada for that matter. Everyone seems to have their own view on the issue of colonization. Throughout the education experience it feels as though it's the teachers themselves who are involved in the discriminatory behaviour.

Where is the native perspective? Here at Western there are no native language courses, no native professors, yet there are other courses offered from other ethnic groups.

The First Nation resource centre provides an atmosphere that is comfortable and educational. Being around other native students allows one to learn more about their culture. Together we are able to share our experiences and concerns.

A common occurrence during a lecture regarding aboriginal issues is to have the professor single you out or to have the feeling that all eyes are on you.

We have all at one point while attending Western been subject to name-calling such as, "Indian Giver," "Indian," "Squaw. . ." the list goes on. What surprises me is that it is not the ignorant that propose these demeaning terms. It's the professors, well-educated peers and those individuals who are teaching other university students such stereotypes. When these professors are approached they are extremely apologetic and mean no harm, however, the damage has already been done.

–Catherine Shawana
President, First Nation Student Association

To Contact The Diversity Department: gazed@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997