“Going to the center”: Canadian aboriginal people and the (re)creation of inclusive spaces

Patterson, T.W & M. J.D. Whittles, 2004, “Going to the center”: Canadian aboriginal people and the (re)creation of inclusive spaces, in: OPENspace, ‘Open space, people space’, OPENspace, Edinburgh

  • Author : Patterson, T.W & M. J.D. Whittles
  • Year : 2004
  • Published in Book : Open space, people space
  • Abstract in English : More often than not, the contemporary Canadian urban environment is identified as hostile, congested and alien by North American Indian, Métis, and Inuit peoples. However, for the nearly one million Aboriginal people currently working and living in Canadian urban centres, these conventional notions of the urban environment are inconsistent and outdated. Drawing upon a case study gained from two Alberta cities, this paper illustrates how urban corridors, landmarks and public parks named after Aboriginal ancestors have become identifiable and symbolic to the members of the Blackfoot (Indian) Confederacy who live there. We show how historically significant urban place names can bridge archetypal notions of the city, thereby making urban spaces more inclusive and less threatening to Aboriginal peoples. Thus, urban place names as signified markers provide physical reminders of traditional oral narratives that juxtapose historical and contemporary notions of landscape, and place them into a dynamic cultural expression transforming the built environment to a recognizable, manageable and inscribed set of places that (re)create inclusive urban spaces for Aboriginal Canadians.
  • Comments/Notes : KEYWORDS: blackfoot Confederacy, Western Canadian cities, urban Aboriginal Canadians, inclusive places, narratives. [paper 6.]