The film excerpts in this theme show the devastating effects of European colonialist policies on Aboriginal peoples. They also show acts of racism in which Aboriginal peoples have been victimized in their relations with whites.
Challenges Past to Present - This theme endeavours to clarify the mechanism of how cultures with opposing worldviews can resolve their differences. Sharing the pain of the past gives power to the present that in turn fuels a process of reconciliation. This in turn forges the basis for any future relationships by creating an atmosphere of acceptance and equality.
In the past, nation to nation treaties were negotiated to make it possible for everyone to share in the bounty of the land. Yet, too often the terms of the treaties went unfulfilled by the colonizing governments involved, leaving Aboriginal people to live on reservation land of poor quality for fishing, hunting or farming and forcing them to relinquish more valuable tracts of land to the Crown. This second-class status for Aboriginal people created an economic disparity that fed the fires of racism that continue to smoulder to this day. So too did the establishment of reserves, residential schools and government agencies, all of which contribute to the daunting challenges faced by Aboriginal people today.
Despite these realities of the not too distant past, Aboriginal people and their cultures continue to survive and thrive. With negotiation mechanisms now in place to deal with unfulfilled treaty obligations, Aboriginal people once again have a land base from which they can earn a living and freely participate in emerging global economies.
While economic opportunities continue to narrow the economic gap between Aboriginal peoples, there remains a lot of work to be done before harmony and balance can be restored between their cultures.