Skip to content

Class Discussion of the Pound/Savagery Flap

My Anthropology of Canada’s First Nations discussed the Dick Pound savagery issue in class today. I asked them to read Margaret Wente’s Globe and Mail column and Iain Hunter’s Victoria Times Colonist column. I then asked them to develop rebuttals to to Wente where warranted and to offer support for her point of view when desired. Here is a summary of the discussion:

Wente — an evolutionary argument that says that a certain definition of civilization is achievable and desirable; the comparison of cultures and histories is possible and reasonable

Hunter — cultural sophistication always existed; the argument of the cultural relativist who asks that we judge only in terms of local culture and local history

It is clear quickly that both arguments are retellings of the sides in an old debate. We briefly looked at Cole Harris, Eldon Yellowhorn, and other aboriginal responses in the press for confirmation of Hunter’s perspective. We looked briefly at Tom Flanagan’s writings for confirmation of Wente’s perspective. Wente’s perspective is also inherent in the writings of other policy critics like Melvin Smith. You see it in Richard Dawkins’ writings on religion.

References Cited During Classroom Discussion

Flanagan, Tom. 2000. First Nations? Second Thoughts. Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Harris, Cole. 2002. Making Native Space: Colonialism, Resistance, and Reserves in British Columbia. Vancouver: UBC Press.

McMillan, Alan and Eldon Yellowhorn. 2004. First Peoples in Canada. Vancouver: Douglas and McIntyre.

Miller, JR. Un pays de sauvages (Letter).

Sayers, Judith. Un pays de sauvages-2 (Letter).

Union of BC Indian Chiefs. Oct. 20, 2008. Union of BC Indian Chiefs Calls for Richard Pound’s Resignation.

Sphere: Related Content