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I’m Not the Indian You Had in Mind

The spoken word poem I’m Not the Indian You Had in Mind by Thomas King, tells the audience that Aboriginals are not the stereotypical “Indian” that media has portrayed them as for years. To go along with this spoken word poem, there is a video. The first clip in this video is of Thomas King wheeling in a cigar store Indian and saying “I’m not the Indian you had in mind.”and then he lists how the Indian you had in mind is stoic and.  This is quite effective because right off the bat we viewers are able to see the contrast on how the media depicts Aboriginal to the reality of them looking like anyone else. bc004cdc6c1b62413247621605001d1aAnd using a Cigar store Indian allows this contrast to work well because these statues are  6 feet and up, broad, tough looking, and wear a chief head dress and the video has Thomas King,  Tara Beagan, and Lorne Cardinal standing next to the statue and the resemble nothing of it. After, King, Beagan and Cardinal say “I’m that other Indian” and they list how the other Indian is a business person, a movie star, an activist, etc. This further shows the contrast of Aboriginal stereotypes to reality. During this list, the video has pictures going across the screen and one photo that stood out was the oka crisis. A little background, the Oka Crisis was a 72- day standoff between the Mohawk and the town of Oka over land. The town of Oka wanted to expand a golf course, but the expansion proposal showed that the Mohawks burial ground was right where the expansion would be. This crisis resulted in the federal government buying the land, which doesn’t resolve anything. Furthermore, the poem says “who drained the lakes and rivers dry” and I interpreted this as not literally draining lake, but polluting  lakes and rivers to the point where it is unsafe to drink from. 93 Aboriginal reserves today have “boil-water advisories” (Cathy Gulli, Maclean’s) and from my world issues class I’ve learned that in 3rd world countries more children are dying from cholera (caused by infected water) than malaria, or aids, but the fact that Canada, the country that has the most accessible fresh water allows it’s own people to be susceptible to water born diseases is outright unacceptable.

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