Canadian Aboriginal Representations Analytical Essay by gertrude

Canadian Aboriginal Representations
A look at the themes of humour and subversion in Canadian Aboriginal representations and the stories of Thomas King.
# 111926 | 5,214 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2007 | CA

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This paper examines how Aboriginal art in Canada is often a subversive response to the colonial representations of Canada's First Peoples that produced, promoted and cemented stereotypes. It discusses how this "othering" of Aboriginal peoples in Canada was a tool of nationalism just as much as postcolonial responses to 19th century representations were a tool of reclamation. It also looks at how Thomas King and other Aboriginal visual artists have used postcolonial responses in humorous Aboriginal art to take slices of history and place them in new and unexpected contexts to create new frontiers. The paper also shows how humour in Aboriginal visual art and literature often finds its base in the colonial past and its relationship to the postmodern present.

From the Paper:

"The "ethnographic photograph" is a theme that appears more than once in King's One Good Story, That One. In the title story, three anthropologists arrive, camera and tape recorders in hand, requesting stories. The narrator could be a tribal Elder; when Napiao arrives he gives the narrator tobacco, a traditional offering to Elders for their time and knowledge (SAHO 16). Evidently, the anthropologists are already familiar with the local customs; when the narrator "says to Napiao, Ka-sin-ta, in our language, and he laugh" (4), the anthropologists laugh also, although the purpose of the joke in this case, is to exclude the white anthropologists from the discourse. When Napiao finally urges the narrator to tell "old stories ... maybe how the world was put together" (5) the narrator starts with "Once upon a time. Those stories start like that, pretty much, those ones, start on time" (5). In terms of "writing back" to colonial discourse, this short introduction by the narrator is extremely problematic."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Acoose, Janice and Natasha Beeds. "Cree-atively Speaking". Me Funny. Ed. Drew Hayden Taylor. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 2005. 85-98.
  • Atwood, Margaret. "A Double-Bladed Knife: Subversive Laughter in Two Stories by Thomas King". Canadian Literature 124-125. (Mar 1990): 243-50.
  • Curtis, Edward Sheriff. Photographs. Bruce Kapson Gallery.
  • Fagan, Kristina. "Teasing, Tolerating, Teaching: Laughter and Community in Native Literature". Me Funny. Ed. Drew Hayden Taylor. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 2005. 23-50.
  • Hirch, Mirjam. "Subversive Humour: Canadian Native Playwrights' Winning Weapon of Resistance". Me Funny. Ed. Drew Hayden Taylor. Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 2005. 99-119.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Canadian Aboriginal Representations (2009, February 05) Retrieved September 29, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Canadian Aboriginal Representations" 05 February 2009. Web. 29 September. 2022. <>