Forming Strong Cultural Identities in an Intersecting Space of Indigeneity and Autism

As the Secwepemc child of a Sixties Scoop survivor, with generations of grandparents who survived residential school (and an unknown number of relatives who did not), I inherited, like all Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples across Canada, the legacies of colonization. A key difference in the lives of Indigenous Peoples like me compared to non-Indigenous peoples is that these colonial legacies were never intended to protect the humanity and interest of Indigenous Peoples. They were designed to systematically eradicate and erase our culture and very existence. As if this attack on the human spirit is not enough, I was born with autism and, similarly, immediately into the outgroup of Canadian society at large. Post by BCcampus Research Fellow Heather Simpson, Justice Institute of British Columbia A person with neurodivergence, like Indigeneity, is often viewed as “other”—a lesser, sub-human existence. Again, like Indigenous Peoples, people with autism’s identity and very existence is threatened by the ableist, exclusionary, cis-hetero White male normative dominance that permeates Western society and results in everything from everyday bullying and micro-aggressions, to pervasive systemic and discriminatory policies, to disproportionate levels of mental illness, disease, suicide, and other forms violence, including genocide. Indigenous People with autism are among […]

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