Thursday, 16 June 2011


Dumelang, my name is Lyndsay Chapman and I just finished my second year of Global Development Studies at Queen's University. After months of preparation and a couple days of traveling all across the world I'm finally here at Ditshwanelo in Kasane, Botswana. Ditshwanelo is a NGO, and the Botswana centre for Human rights. I'm going to be working with my partner Chloe here for the next three months on their land rights project .

While we were waiting for our work permits to be completed by our boss
we had the opportunity to have a conversation with one of our
colleagues, Susan, a fellow volunteer from a law institute in Gaborone
who has been volunteering with Ditshwanelo since January. We got to
talking about the differences between our countries and she mentioned
to us that she had always wanted to visit Canada. From my studies in
Canada I have, of course, been subject to some of the ways in which
people are taught to conceive of Canada and its position in the world. You
know the notion that Canada is some benevolent peacekeeper, a bastion
of human rights, could never do any harm. One that with any research
becomes increasingly ridiculous and manufactured.

While we were talking I mentioned where the name Canada came from,
Kanata, meaning village in Iroquois which in turn led
to a discussion about our indigenous populations. We mentioned our
reserve system and some of the colonial and modern injustices the
aboriginal peoples of Canada are subject to. Having taken some courses
this year on these subjects I learned a lot of new and frankly
appalling, things that are not mentioned usually about how the
government treats aboriginal peoples. Susan was rather surprised that
these sort of things happen in Canada. I always just assumed that the
insanely contrived notion of what it meant to be Canadian or what
Canada stood for only really affected us but it doesn't. How have we
managed to create this false notion that we are so good, so perfect
when we are not? How can we engage in meaningful collaboration if
there is this idea that we are above them, as false as it is? I feel
like we need people to work as opposite representatives, traveling
around and telling people all the bad things about Canada breaking
down those ideas, that privilege. Maybe once all that privilege has been broken down than we can start working on building real relationships with people around the world.

Until next time, Sala Sentle.

note:due to some technical difficulties I'm posting under Chloe's name but rest assured it is fact me who wrote this.

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