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The Urbane Indian - Drew Hayden Taylor

  • Unsportsmanlike names and the time for change

    Posted by Drew Hayden Taylor at Friday, October 28th, 2016 1:15pm

    Indigenous activist and world-renowned architect Douglas Cardinal lost his bid in Ontario Superior Court to stop the Cleveland Indians baseball team from using its “racist name” and Chief Wahoo mascot logo during the American League Championship Series games played in Toronto against the Blue Jays. This was just the latest salvo in an ongoing battle against what many consider to be the politically incorrect names of numerous professional sports teams. But in this age of equity, diversity and inclusion, it’s becoming more and more difficult to understand what is socially acceptable when referring to Aboriginal people, sports and other complex issues.

  • Cuba plays the tourists with a topless fantasy Indigenous ritual

    Posted by Drew Hayden Taylor at Thursday, June 16th, 2016 12:00am

    Most would consider a trip to a Cuban resort to be one of pleasant distractions; warm sand, rum and a rather shallow excursion into another culture. It seemed obvious to us that in the months ahead, more and more Americans would be flooding the beaches and gradually Kardashianizing the whole island. It’s not exactly the place one would expect to experience a slight, if not annoying, artistic and existential crisis of Aboriginal proportions.

  • The shame of skirt shaming - June 2016

    Posted by Drew Hayden Taylor at Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 12:00am

    Not long ago my partner was attending an Aboriginal healing function when she found out there was going to be a women’s ceremony included, one that she had not been told about in advance.... Her immediate first thought dealt with the fact she hadn’t brought along the proper attire, specifically a long skirt that fell to her ankles.  It is usually what is worn by women to take part in such spiritual ceremonies

  • Ask not for whom the drum beats, it beats for thee - May 2016

    Posted by Drew Hayden Taylor at Monday, May 2nd, 2016 12:00am

    The northern Ontario community of Attawapiskat is only too familiar with tragedy—flooding, chronic housing shortages, government disregard, flagrant misspelling of its name... It would be enough to break their hearts, if their hearts weren’t so strong. Next to follow, was a barrage of the unsympathetic questions that usually follow any of these calamities, usually asked by puzzled southern non-Native individuals or, as we like to call them in this politically correct age, people of pallor. Why don’t you just move?

  • Cottagers, Indians and an evasive species - November 2015

    Posted by Drew Hayden Taylor at Sunday, November 1st, 2015 12:00am

    A little over 50 kilometres north of Peterborough, Ont., a tempest is brewing involving people who have spent huge amounts of money to buy or build a cottage on the shores of Pigeon Lake in the last couple of decades, and an Indigenous form of grain harvested by First Nations people for thousands of years.  It’s a battle of aesthetics and culture, property values and subsistence, of Muskoka chairs and an Indigenous pilaf. At the heart of this issue is a fundamentally differing perspective on what is important on a cultural level. 

  • Seeking the aboriginal experience in Germany - October 2015

    Posted by Drew Hayden Taylor at Thursday, October 1st, 2015 12:00am

    It’s not often you will find approximately 4,000 people showing up to see a play about a fictional Native character written by a 19th century German writer named Karl May, who reportedly had never been to North America.  But there they, and I, were in late July, nestled in a humongous amphitheatre that had once been a large quarry. In fact, at this very performance of the play “Im Tal Des Todes,” which translates as “The Valley of Death” or, more accurately, “Death Valley”, one of the producers took center stage to announce to the crowd the production we were about to see had just welcomed its 100,000th patron. Not bad for a play that had been running for about four weeks. 

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