Cultural erasure

Cree child Thomas Moore before (left) and after (right) being "civilised".

Cultural erasure consists of forcing minorities to adopt Western culture and attire, to speak the English language, to convert to Christianity, to stop using their birth names, and so on.[1][2]

In the figure to the right, one can see one the effects of cultural erasure on a young Cree child:

[Left]: Cree child Thomas Moore, as he appeared in his traditional Cree attire when admitted to the Regina Indian Industrial School [ca. 1897] Photo: Saskatchewan Archives Board R-A8223-1. Notice the staging of the gun in hand, ostensibly symbolizing his "savage" proclivities that would be necessarily purged by a heavy dose of duplicitous white man Christian indoctrination.

[Right]: "Civilized" Cree child Thomas Moore, the beginning of years of Christian inculcation at the Regina Indian Industrial School [ca.1897] Photo: Saskatchewan Archives Board R-A8223-2 [1]

Once ethnic minorities are stripped of their own culture, customs, traditions, pedagogy, language, and history these can all be comodified under a capitalist framework.[citation needed] In other words, once colonialsm and erasure have taken a firm enough grip inside a colonised people, cultural appropriation can be used to further profit from their identities. Especially since by this point, their cultural heritage is seen as "exotic" and has come to be rare, which are properties valued by consumerist and individualist culture.

See also

External links

Historical erasure and cultural recovery: Indigenous people in the Connecticut River Valley, by Margaret M Bruchac