Syrian Refugees to Compete in World Indigenous Nations Games


Encounters in Canada:  Contrasting Indigenous and Immigrant Perspectives 

Common cultural traditions & rituals

Naming self in relation to family, ancestors, place (Sudanese tradition; Ojibwe tradition)


Drumming and dance

Celebration of seasons & relationship to land and loss of that relationship to the land (forced migration/colonization)

Celebration of coming of age

Fasting, piercing, tattooing


Identity as tribal, Indigenous

Beading/sewing/weaving baskets/ etc.


Gift giving cultures (give-away; gift-giving as a tradition)

Storytelling and emphasis on oral culture/tradition

Sometimes a lack of interest in culture among younger generations

Strong and abiding belief in many cultures in the spiritual / unseen

Sense of time

Common colonization and systemic oppression

Christian missionaries/schools/residential schools. While we need to acknowledge the damage done by the religious institution who ran the Indian Residential Schools in Canada, we need not be critical when Indigenous parents in Canada decide to send their kids to “Christian Schools” today. The big difference these days, from the IRS era, is that Indigenous parents and students have a choice as to where they want to go to school.

Police, racial profiling and oppression

Similar types of stigma – ‘don’t pay taxes’ and ‘bogus refugee/queue jumper/handouts’

Child & Family Services and relationship to systems and institutions in general- learned to fear

Colonization of names of places and languages- e.g., Mantou-ahbee becomes Manitoba. Mumbai becomes Bombay (and a reclaiming of these names)

Having cultural names and ‘Christian names” or westernized names

Common family breakdown/disruption/migration

Separation of children from parents/families (due to war/Lost Boys/Girls of Sudan; residential schools)

Newcomers to the country/ Indigenous newcomers to the city. Culture shock, displacement from community, language, suddenly being a minority group, racism, etc.

Common family & community pratices

Role of elders more formalized and respected

Extended family / kinship networks / adoption across extended family as a norm

Various challenges to preserving culture and language (and differences too – many newcomer communities strong in language and cultural preservation- but 2nd generation often lose their language) (Indigenous people faced purposive eradication)

Gender roles; including the extent of equality of genders in various societies

An Indigenous Philosophy of Welcoming

No more beautiful moons may we spend on our land, in the north the scarlet council talks of war.
And the long knives have massacred the tribes and burned corn,
we're not welcome in our homeland anymore.
There will be a trail of tears, there will be a trail of pain.
Jackson will have the Mississippi and the twenty-dollar bill,
but for us the trail is all that will remain.

No more songs of the hunters on the buffalo plain,
no more smoke from sacred fires touch these hills.
And the numbers of the people grow fewer every mile
and our children will not learn The Great Spirit's ways.

There will be a trail of tears, there will be a trail of pain.
Jackson will have the Mississippi and the twenty-dollar bill,
but for us the trail is all that will remain.

On the streets of Rapid City, on the road to Wounded Knee,
there is whiskey for forgetting every thing.
But the old ones say there may be time learning from each other
the way that it had once been meant to be.
But there is still a trail of tears, there is still a trail of pain.
Jackson has got the Mississippi and the twenty-dollar bill
but for us the trail of tears is all that will remain.
Jackson has got the Mississippi and the twenty-dollar bill,
but how long will the trail of tears remain?




​Where the Rivers Meet (WTRM) Website