The Americas

Canoes reek of genocide, theft and white privilege, professor claims

 (REUTERS/Carlo Allegri, File)

Forget Halloween costumes and yoga, there’s a new symbol of cultural appropriation—the canoe.

According to Misao Dean, Professor of English at the University of Victoria, the canoe can be a symbol of colonialism, imperialism and genocide due to history. She also accused the canoers of cultural appropriation because they are primarily white men and have a privileged place in society.

In a radio interview for CBC Radio, which wasn’t picked by the Internet until several months later, she claimed “we have a whole set of narratives that make the canoe into a kind of morally untouchable symbol, something that seems natural, that seems ordinary, and seems to promote values that we ascribe to.”

“But I think if you look a little further that narrative obscures or erases another narrative—and that narrative is about, to be blunt, it’s about theft and genocide”, the professor said.

Dean continued to explain why she thinks Canada picked the canoe as a symbol, claiming it has to do with benefits to particular groups—particularly white men— who pushed the canoe.

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