Originally Posted by jaffy
Having only skimmed the article and not really having any interest in spending more time on it, it seems to me that the article is misrepresenting her position. From her quotes, my take is that she's simply saying the common narrative of canoes being wholesome and putting us in touch with nature is simplistic and not entirely accurate and obscures a different narrative that includes some ugliness.
But of course "news" organizations get more ad revenue if they can generate outrage and controversy, so hey why not take some quotes out of context and try and drum up more clicks. It's like the "Lil Wayne claims racism doesn't exist" crap from a few weeks ago. If you listen to his actual interview, it's way different than what the articles make it seem like he said.
Lil Wayne says there's "no such thing as racism" - CBS News
Apparently nuance is too hard for most people, so the news outlets dumb it down and make it as controversial as they can. Then you look at it, and there's really nothing there.
Nail on the head there. This is from the radio interview:
Host Jim Brown: “So what specifically do you want people to do?”
Professor Misao Dean: “I, I think really if, if we’re talking about self reflection through the canoe…I do want people to, when they go to their put-in point, when they plan their trips…they want to ask themselves: ‘who’s traditional territory is this?’, ‘how did it come to get in public domain or public access?’, ‘how do I feel about the fact that that kind of narrative was done in my name?’, and look online to see where you can provide support to the struggles of indigenous people for their legal rights, for their treaty rights, and for their real valuation in Canadian culture.”
Of course there's a history of colonialism throughout North America, and rich white people using canoes to experience nature as a recreational activity may come off as imperialist to actual indigenous citizens of Canada. But it's not overt, and it's not conscious. Those rich white people are also the self-selecting group that are interested in exploring North American wilderness, so they're also in a unique situation to go one step further and consider the history of the people that used to live there. Most likely, they already do consider those issues.
My disagreements with Prof Dean:
1) If you're going to go PC to the max like this, don't refer to all wilderness canoists as "privileged white men." Yea there's a lot of them, but not every canoist is a privileged white man. Some are poverty boaters. Some aren't white. If you bath yourself in academia PC, at least get it right.
2) One of her arguments for reevaluating the canoe as a cultural symbol of modern Canada is that such efforts may allow indigenous peoples to reclaim treaty-backed territories for income-generating activities like commercial canoe rentals/guiding. Wouldn't that just increase the number of privileged white folk sloshing around in genocide boats? I've never once looked down the Arkansas from the tracks above Zoom Flume in late July and thought, "now this is how you respect indigenous cultures right here."