Sunday, December 5, 2021

The Giant Canadian Culture Shift for a Better Canadian Society

Your First Culture

People have been surprised by this new culture shift. The move towards recognizing diversity and equity and inclusion. People grow up believing the tenants of Canadian society, that we're the land of the free, we have the right to choose who we are, and so forth.

As the subaltern peoples are raising their voice and demanding real change for equity and inclusion and recognition of Canadian diversity, the People of Privelege are mostly shocked. They believed that they weren't racist, or homophobic, or any of the kyriarchal names attached to them.

The truth of our history has begun to unravel and reveal itself. The people of privelege have seen that it is a lie. Institutions and Governments have been working hard to give people a framework within to work that doesn't upset the status quo. And they did it without consultation, without understanding exactly what the subalter are saying.

Your Beginning:

Clotaire Rapaille said it best:

Most people are exposed to one culture before the age of seven. They spend most of their time at home or in their local environment...

Therefore, the extremely strong imprints placed in their subconscious at this early age are determined by the culture in which they are raised. (p.22)

Your first culture has emotional imprints that affect you throughout your life. They are based on emotion and trust. They are what their parents taught them and so on backward in time until the colonists first arrived.

When it comes to the Canadian culture code, the code is "TO KEEP". Rapaille's explanation is as follows:

Canadians, for instance, seek leaders who are capable of maintaining the culture. As menstioned earlier, the Canadian Code for Canad is TO KEEP. This code evolved from the severe Canadian winters. Canadians learned from the beginning to use what they call "winter energy," to act so as to conserve as much energy as possible. They do not seek leaders with vision, capable of making major breakthroughs. Instead, they elect prime ministers who serve as guardians, who voters believe provide the best chance of keeping the Canadian culture the way it is. (pp187-188)
Our culture was born in colonialism and exploitation of the Indigenous nations. We have worked hard to maintain that cultural history as it is passed down from generation to generation.

While the government teaches us that we have all these freedoms and we are one people, hyphenated Canadians, "a multicultural society, an “ethnic mosaic,” in which people of different backgrounds and heritages are able to live together without losing their distinct identities.

[But] Canada’s policies with respect to the Indigenous Peoples within its borders contradict the idea of protecting the separate identities of minorities under one national umbrella... The ultimate goal of the Indian Act has always been the assimilation of the Indigenous Peoples as separate nations into mainstream Canada. (Facing History and Ourselves, 2021)

What this means today, is that we are still in this place, culturally we are still maintaining the colonial past through our enculturation processes. We don't like change, we keep.

The Culture Shift

So now we are experiencing the culture shift of our lifetime. The subaltern are tired of being subaltern and want to be and equal and included part of Canadian society.

We are discovering as a nation, that not all is equal, not all is fair, not all is inclusive. We're discovering the horrendous behaviour of our forefathers. The residential school system that was established to "...beat the Indian out of the Indian, [and] they had to make us feel ashamed of who we are” [Ellen Gabriel, 2019], in the child and make them White, even though they could never be White. The residential school system that murdered children and buried them in graveyards and unmarked graves. Watching the Canadian police treating Persons of Colour aggressively and disrespectfully.

The Covid-19 Global Pandemic has put us all into the same boat. The popular saying, "we're all in this together" has resounded loudly. But it has been discovered that we're not all in this together equally. And so it is time for all, especially Persons of Colour, collective voices to be heard and force a culture change from the old colonial historical culture, to a new truly inclusive, and equitable future, so that we can all be Canadians together.

Perceived Threat

The demand for culture change has been so loud, that the People of Privelege are beginning to fear that their history and culture is about to be cancelled at their expense. Protective movements, the rise of Aryanism and fascism, very conservative governments, religious groups acting out, are all scrambling to keep the status quo through controlled "change" but still in their colonial world view.

We need to listen for understanding and hear with compassion!

What they are missing is that it is not about culture cancellation, but rather the need to add the other voices, the subaltern voices, to the culture shift. Subaltern peoples are actually playing catch-up to the privilege of society of privelege. Their voice will bring their culture and history for meaning to Canadian culture. For a time, they will accelerate that voice and may seem like they're drowning out the priveleged voice, but it's not. It's actually making sure that they are heard. Canadians need to accept everyone's history and story as part of our country's social fabric.

We have to learn from our history. Colonial culture and history is brutal, divisive and soul destroying. We need to learn from our history and ensure that it isn't repeated, but changed for the better. If we change to be accepting of all people, all Canadians, we can create a new Canadian culture that is truly inclusive, equitable and diversity-ready. Then the Charter of Freedoms and Rights will apply to everyone, equally and we can develop our new culture on a people positive stance.

Something TO KEEP.


References: Rapaille, Clotaire. The Culture Code: An Ingenous Way to Understand Why People Around the World Live and Buy as They Do.2006. Random House: USA.

Perez, Alexander. 2019. "Indigenous Women Say Canada’s Legislative is Discriminatory: Indian Act Continues to Harm First Nations Women, Petition Launched" in The Link. February 18, 2019. Concordia University: Montreal. source:

Facing History and Ourselves. 2021.Stolen Lives: The Indigenous Peoples of Canada and the Indian Residential Schools Examine the Indian Residential Schools and their long-lasting effects on Indigenous Peoples of Canada.16 Hurd Road, Brookline, MA. source:

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Community Development and Anthropology -- it's all about the people Pt2

Yesterday I spoke about my interest in Anthropology and the successes I've had in using it throughout my life. But it has also set me up for successful community development. I have worked with a lot of grassroots organizations and individuals trying to use my background in Anthropology to build sustainable development in organizations by addressing certain issues as they arise.

Community Development is the capacity of people to work collectively in addressing their common interest. This is what it looks like building from the grassroots to political will.

1.Proactive People: Goal: People work together. Action:Creating clubs, groups, organizations that furthers their specific needs and goals. Such as afterschool groups, seniors groups, etc.

2.Leadership: Goal: Building leadership and skills development for community members. Action:Using human capital, community education. Such as group facilitation, project leadership, self-help groups.

3.Community Action: Goal:Being aware of a need and taking action. Community development and community organizing. Action: Communities taking action on the sustainable development goals such as climate or poverty.

4.Strenthening Community Connectedness: Goal: Creating connections between people, building connecctions and developing community identity. Action: Using social capital to create community and neighbourhood activities as well as participating in other community's and neighbourhood's activities.

5.Building Service Networks and Organizationa Infrastructure:Goal: Strong services network, via network building service systems (i.e. referrals), staff skill development, development of the network as a whole. Action: Develop interagency, multi-lateral partnerships; staff peer support projects; and, restructuring roles and responibilities across organizations.

This now becomes the community capacity building part of community development. Building community capacity is engaging community members in identifying challenges and building on the strengths that exist withing their community.

6.Community Building through Community Service Partnerships: Goal: Build community through partnerships: learning, gathering, idenfitying issues and community assets, dreaming to planning, action and outcomes. Action: Create partnerships, value participation, shared power driven by organizations and community equally

7. Economic Development: Goal: Economic capital, economic growth and justice driven by business and/or by people. Action: attend to poliltical needs or political community needs such as a new shopping development needed in the area, or a housing cooperative.

Community building works by building community in individual neighbourhoods -- neighbours learning to rely on each other, working together on concrete tasks that take advantage of new self-awareness of their collective and individual assets and in the process, creating human, family and socal capital that provides a new base for a more promising future and reconnection to the larger community.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Community Development and Anthropology -- it's all about the people Pt1

I built a strong base in my anthropological endeavours. Having interest in 3 areas of Anthropology has been fulfilling.

My first area of interest is my concentration on Socio-Cultural Anthropology. Learning about people, communities, societies and the enculturation and cultural development of people has developed from marginalization and immigrant communities, to exploring equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), human rights and the sustainable development goals agenda for 2030. In Canada, we are experiencing a huge culture-shift through the impetus of #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, the Residential School graves, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls enquiry, and so much more. All of these inputs have stronger voices and still have a fight on their hands for things like basic human rights, safe places, proper housing, job equity, and all the things that have been historically excluded in an ablest, white, male-dominated, heterosexual society that favours urbanism. We call it intersectionality. I have developed and taken many courses relating to intersectionality, equity, diversity, inclusion, gender-based analysis plus, sustainable development and human rights.

As a search and rescue search manager I have been a part of the recovery of the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Recovering their bodies gives me great satisfaction. They get their humanity back, they get their identity back, their families can better confront their grief and loss. There is no judgement from any of the responders about who they were but rather a sense of relief that another human has been found and will go through their human rite funerary process.

My second area of interest is Language and Linguisics. I have a larger than normal English language vocabulary which can be frustrating when trying to communicate with people. I incidently use a word that people don't understand and have to stop and explain myself. I'm working towards a regular vocabulary between grade 6 and grade 8 level to match the media's level of broadcast information. It's a challenge.

Not satisfied with all those English words, I dabble in learning other languages. Being a polyglot, means I never have to shut up and always have an opinion. :) I've learned to various fluencies about 15 languages, maybe more. I will stand by English as my go-to mother tongue and German as my second language. Then it gets a bit fuzzy. I'm conversational in Arabic, French, Signing Exact English (SEE2); I have basic Russian, Scottish Gaelic and Spanish; and, a smattering of Cree, Hawaiian, Hungarian, Japanese, Latin, Malay, Mandarin, Polish and Welsh. Whew! That's a lot of communicating and talking!

I have undertaken a research project in Afghanistan that involves deciphering ancient glyphs written on the stones just south of where the giant Buddha's used to be. In chalk, there is modern Persian but in red there are representatives of 3 languages and what looks like a family Tamga (crest). The three languages all were in use about or before the 4th century BC (Before Covid or BCE Before Common Era) and reflect the transience of a nation. The first language is Bactrian. It's what you'd expect in Afghanistan. The second language is Kharosthi, a language that soon merged with the Pamir language in the region. The third language is mind-blowing, but feasible. It's Ogham (ancient Irish). It supports the theory that the Celtic people emerged from the Caucasus Mountains and went east and west across Eurasia. The theory is still backed up by artifacts demonstrating language use in various places, particularly the Tarim Basin mummies found in Western China.

My third area of interest is forensic anthropology/archaeology. I am fortunate to indulge in this interest through ground search and rescue (or recovery), looking for deceased individuals. I have developed extensive knowledge in human osteology and comparitive osteology, looking for deceased people and reading on the subject. I even developed a course: Human Remains Site Management for Search & Rescue, that I have delivered to law enforcement and other search and rescue teams. As I said above in regards to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, I see that they get their humanity back, they get their identity back, their families can better confront their grief and loss.

That is essentially what makes me tick. It's my three areas of research and practice. I don't get paid for my anthropology, but then again it's my vocation, my calling.

Tomorrow, I'll draw the lines between my anthropology and community development.