Ach, shame…

I love headlines like these. I miss them.  They make me smile, and wince, at the same time. They remind me of what it’s like to be human. They remind me of someplace and some people that I miss very much.

Wheeling in the dead to claim pension

Three women allegedly strapped a dead man to a wheelchair to claim his pension money from the Post Office, Beeld newspaper reported on Wednesday.  

“He didn’t look so great,” a witness told the Afrikaans daily.



Filed under Africa, humour, journalism, South Africa

5 responses to “Ach, shame…

  1. Shmohawk; interesting post,in fact I wrote about this very issue myself.The term aboriginal is definitly a political term,and I believe media outlets and many politicians know this and use it because of the connotations implied by its use

    …”The choice of “Indian” in the title is not casual. […] Gibson rejects “first nation” as a term that implies a particular political agenda of “nation-to-nation” treaties. He has no objection to “aboriginal”, the common term in Canada for all those who identify with their indigenous ancestry”…

  2. shmohawk

    I think you have the wrong post. I think you wanted to comment on “quiz time.”

    I think the media uses the term “Aboriginal” because they’re too damn lazy to ask which nation the subject of whatever story they’re working on might be. So they lump everyone together instead of asking for particulars. It would be like me doing a story about “Europeans” but not bothering to ask which nation I might be dealing with on a story – say – about some old dude who kept his daughter locked up for years as a sex slave in a dungeon, fathered several children with her, and was exposed only by accident.

    It would be like doing a story about regional separatism or regional alienation but never once mentioning – say – Alberta. Or Calgarians. Specifics give the reader vital information. The use of vague generalities leads to misinformation and even ignorance.

    I once asked some kid in north-end Winnipeg to tell me what he was, expecting Saulteaux, Cree or maybe even Inuit. “I’m Aboriginal,” he said. But what tribe or nation? “Just Aboriginal.” I don’t think he was being evasive. I think he genuinely didn’t know who or what he was. That’s terrible. Disgusting. That kid is a walking monument to government polices that for generations have tried to extinguish the Indian’s identity, culture, language. White society has sought to pretend that Indian nations didn’t exist, and so neither did political rights as nations under International law. The mainstream media has been complicit, an active partner in this.

    So I could care less what Gibson prefers or not. What matters is what we prefer. And I prefer to be called kanienke:haka (mohawk in eastern European). I am not “first nation” Don’t call me “Aboriginal.”

  3. shmohawk

    p.s. Dirk, thanks for the comment. I really needed to rant.

  4. I agree totally and indeed like you I could care less what terms Gibson chooses to use.I just linked to his quote to make the point that “aboriginal” is a political term and that many media types and politicians understand the political meaning,and this is why they chose to use terms like “aboriginal” “Indians” rather than the identifying indigenous peoples as Cree,Mohawk,Haida etc etc or even First Nations(as a general term). Of course many might be just lazy as you stated.
    I should point out the word First Nations is not an invention of “white people/settler society” it is a term indigenous peoples coined. It recognizes the political reality,i.e indigenous peoples are not just another ethnic minority within Canada they are Nations with differing languages,traditions,political systems etc.But again First Nations is a general term .
    Of course when one is talking specifically about a particular First Nation(s) one should use the name of that particular nation/people,i.e Mohawk,Nisga’a,Haida,etc etc.But if one is talking about indigenous peoples in general the word First Nations is acceptable,is it not? First Nations recognizes that indigenous peoples are not one homogenized group.Its also recognizes the political reality,i.e First Nations peoples are sovereign entities.
    And like you I have also asked friends of mine how they self identify.On more occasion than not, my First Nations friends chose Canadian first before say for example Nisga’a.Most did not understand the term “aboriginal” but when I explained its implications they were not pleased.I see this as more an issue of ignorance,as I said when the terms are explained they get it.
    As individuals we have to speak up,we have to educate/inform(not lecture) when ever the opportunity presents itself.
    That said I feel your frustration Shmohawk 😉

  5. shmohawk

    I think that the term “first nation” had a time and a place during the debates and conferences to patriate Canada’s Constitution. Canadians needed to understand that there were people – and not just the two “founding nations” – who had a distinct role throughout the country’s history; counter to what history teachers and books would have you believe, for instance, that Indians made life hell for settlers, then disappeared for a bit, then had a revolt out west, then faded into museums. But the term served its purpose.

    The term “first nation,” to me anyway, has been bastardized. It’s been usurped by every two-bit reserve (a fabrication of the Indian Act) and band council (the Indian Act’s Frankenstein monster) to imply that they are nations unto themselves. A Mohawk territory or reserve is just that an no more. The Mohawk Nation straddles two provincial boundaries and includes a large part or one northern State across one international border. That, to me, is a “first nation.”

    The more we accept the language of the settler, the further from our own reality we stray. That is my point. Some may find it a mite extreme but that’s what ideas are for. Mine aren’t new. they’re the same ones that my great-grandfather expressed at the turn of the last century and his great-grandfather probably expresses at the turn of the one before that. “First nation” is only 30 years old.

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