An Anthropological Approach to Aboriginal Workforce Engagement

Engaging the aboriginal workforce: It’s a great term but a significant understanding of the First Nations’ culture is an important aspect

Engaging the aboriginal workforce: It’s a great term but a significant understanding of the First Nations’ culture is an important aspect of this idea.

Enter Bruce Cutknife, who presented a history of the Maskwacis at an Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) workshop Oct. 9. The event was co-hosted by the Town of Ponoka and the Ponoka District and Chamber of Commerce bringing more than 90 representatives from Hobbema, Rocky Mountain House, Wetaskiwin and students from the Maskwacis Cultural College.

Cutknife started a historical presentation with a quote from Spanish philosopher George Santayana. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

So Cutknife proceeded to explain how archaeologists believe people first made their way into North America when land formed thousands of years ago. At first it was unclear why Cutknife explained some of the history but as world explorers started travelling by ship across the globe, specific religious documents helped shape the way First Nations people were treated.

The first he spoke of was the Ostiensian Doctrine, written by Cardinal Henry of Susa in the 1200s, which stated that, “When Christ became king of the earth, the heathens lost their right to a political jurisdiction and to worldly possessions.”

“This was one of the first doctrines, Christian doctrines, that determined that Christ and Christianity would rule the earth,” explained Cutknife.

Later the Portuguese would travel the globe and would claim land for themselves and would compete with Spain over land. Eventually the two countries disputed over land and they asked the Catholic Church to step in.

The Discovery Doctrine of 1454, a Papal Bull was established, allowed the State of Portugal to establish, capture or vanquish and subdue all Saracens…And other enemies of Christ”

This allowed explorers to take possessions without fear of punishment and could sell anything taken for profit.

“The Discovery Doctrine is still in effect today,” said Cutknife.

He referred to Charles Mann, who wrote 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. about life before Columbus’ arrival. European doctrine was strongly based on the Bible at the time, which made no mention of First Nations people. This made it difficult for explorers who were unsure whether the people they met were human, he says. “The Spanish were able to enslave them and kill with impunity.”

If the First Nations did not bring as much gold as possible to the Spaniards, their hands would be chopped off. Eventually a Papal Bull called Sublimus Dei was written in 1537 stating that indigenous people were considered not allowed to be enslaved but this was difficult to police as Europe and North America were so far apart. “There are a large number of documents that affected us through history.”

“In the past there has been a lot of misunderstanding, a lot of mistrust that has separated us as peoples,” added Cutknife.

The Royal Proclamation of 1793 and Treaties also affected First Nations, he explained. Cutknife said in an interview the purpose behind his presentation is to provide a better understanding of the how the Maskwacis were affected. Much of his presentation is not taught in schools either.

“I think it’s important to realize the social problem. A lot of dysfunction in First Nations communities is a product of the colonization process,” said Cutknife.

He said there are also many First Nations people who do not know the full history, which is important to learn. When he was younger older folks did not even talk about residential schools either. But speaking about what happened may be one way to learn from the past.

Alberta Works, the Government of Alberta and the Maskwacis Employment Centre also sponsored the event.

 

Just Posted

Rollovers near Ponoka keep crews busy

Wintry road conditions proved a struggle for motorists on the QE2 highway with several incidents

Plane crash-lands near Ponoka

The airplane had its tail ripped off and it ended right side up in a copse of trees east of Ponoka

Ponoka barrel racer looks to strong future

Shayna Weir’s climb to CFR promises more to come for the barrel racer

Naked man arrested for impaired driving

The man allegedly fled the scene of a collision wearing only a sheet. Plus other Ponoka RCMP briefs

Ponoka Legion commemorates 100th anniversary of Armistice Day

Ponoka residents pack Legion hall during Remembrance Day

Winter weather hits parts of Canada

As some parts of the country brace for cold, parts of B.C. remain warmer than 10 C

Castor, Forestburg, coal workers get $257,644 to transition to low-carbon economy

Two transition centres will serve seven communities in the Battler River Region

Canada’s health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain: UN

The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.

PHOTO: Ponoka Stampede new suites construction begins

The Ponoka Stampede Wild West Suites construction has begun

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Saskatchewan college honours memory of Humboldt Broncos coach

Darcy Haugan wore jersey No. 22 when he was a star player with the Briercrest College Clippers

Liberals to act quickly if Saturday midnight deal deadline breached: source

Oh Friday, Canadian Union of Postal Workers said it would not bring the latest offers to a vote of its members

Police probe several allegations of sex assault at Toronto school

Police say they have learned of other incidents of alleged assault and sexual assault

VIDEO: The definition of a kilogram has officially changed

50-plus countries voted to a ground-breaking overhaul to the international system of measurements

Most Read