Resisting Consumption: Exploring Pathways of Resistance to the Assimilative Nature of the Canadian Education System through Tomson Highway's Kiss of the Fur Queen
Bilmer, Blake KG 1990-
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In this project paper, I explore the domination and subjugation of Indigenous people that the Canadian education system encourages. I use Tomson Highway's text Kiss of the Fur Queen to examine instances of isolation felt by the protagonists Jeremiah and Gabriel in both Residential School and high school. Isolation creates feelings of inferiority, leaving them with the desire to fit within the dominant group. I also address instances in which the dominant nature of education can be challenged, primarily through the decentralization of the institution as the sole proprietor and manufacturer of knowledge. Highway addresses this through his use of the "Son of Ayash" and Weetigo and Weesageechak stories as well as the novel's overarching theme of institutional consumption and assimilation. Though the novel is set in Manitoba roughly fifty years ago, I choose to focus on the British Columbia curriculum because of my connection to it as both a student and a future teacher. My argument suggests that not much has changed from the dated curriculum discussed in the novel to the present curriculum that I critique. Assimilation is still a significant portion of what is taught in schools; the practice is simply pursued more discretely. Finally, I address the difficulty in challenging a system that one is a part of. Through the decentralization of the institution as the hub of knowledge, one makes way for others and their methods for understanding the world.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
SupervisorVan Styvendale, Nancy
CommitteeMuri, Allison; Roy, Wendy
Copyright DateOctober 2016