Context: The Appropriation Committee Work and the End of the Committee

For 15 months every Monday night a Cultural Appropriation Committee met to examine all areas of the NWTA for possible cultural appropriation. This meeting was open to all Indigenous men, and was designed to allow the white men to hear the voices of Indigenous men. White men were not supposed to talk. Subcommittees were formed to deal with specific issues.

What I observed in those months was that basically only one Indigenous man, one of the presenters, did most of the talking. Other Indigenous men on the calls were generally not asked for their opinions. When they were, on occasion, asked their opinion, the majority of the men said that it was OK for MKP to do what it does.

My experience was that the majority of Indigenous men who showed up were ignored.

My opinion of the experience was that there was an implicit bias operating in the white men that nobody wished to address.

This bias led the Committee into a state of dysfunction and, mercifully, the Chair of MKP, who had also been on all those calls, ended the Committee before the P&R Ceremony could be discussed.

I will add that I have been told that the man who did most of the talking has been quoted as saying that “those Indians over there don’t matter.”

Another Indigenous man on most of the calls told me he was waiting for someone to ask him what he thought but nobody ever did.

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