If Disney’s animated interpretation of the story of Pocahontas has taught us anything it is that indigenous women are restless and unsatisfied, readily available and just waiting to be rescued by the white man. Raised on this kind of urban legend, when little North American boys grow up disillusioned and when they are old enough to actually proposition a real indigenous women – they are understandably confused and sometimes crushed when met with a real indigenous woman’s response.
An amorous and idealistic man looking for his Pocahontas and instead met with a strong indigenous woman answering with expletives in return can activate white fragility – sometimes to the point that erratic male entitlement kicks into overdrive, leading to homicide. Thus, making the Pocahontas sexual fantasy (and by default the “sexy squaw” Hallowe’en costume) one serious contributing factor to the problem of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada.
In reality, many indigenous societies are matrilineal and sometimes even matriarchal. That means our indigenous women are to be respected and honoured as equals — or in some cases considered superior to men. Imagine hundreds of generations of this ideology.
So when a non-native man comes along and thinks all he has to do is say offer a suave “hello there” for a native woman to swoon and fall into his arms just ripe for the picking and is instead met with cold reality; it can be a real shocker.
This is what separates us. Indigenous men know that they need to step to indigenous women correctly, respecting their natural strength and vibrance; while non-native men are still under the illusion of Tiger Lily, waiting to be rescued from Captain Hook.
This is also part of what makes the Harper regime’s insinuation that Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada being the fault of violent indigenous men so infuriating. The inquiry needs to investigate the root cause of violence against indigenous women.
We can’t blame white people or indigenous men because this is a systemic ideology of male entitlement and masculine fragility that was imported to this continent through colonization from Europe.
If we look at another trend of racially askew violence in the USA, it seems that rejection is one of the contributing factors when a young male decides to start a killing spree.
Racist murderer Dylann Roof said “I went into that Black church, to kill Black people,” after the Charleston massacre. According to The Intercept, Dylann Roof had been rejected by a love interest who preferred dating an African-American which some analysts feel triggered his latent racism and hate for black people which caused the deaths of 9 innocent people.
Mass murderer Elliot Rodger of California killed 6 people in a similar situation. Continually rejected by women he felt entitled to, Rodger wrote a manifesto before his violent explosion. “How could an inferior, ugly black boy be able to get a white girl and not me?”
An inquiry into what is happening within Canadian society that makes indigenous women statistically more susceptible to being the victims of violence makes a lot of sense when you bring it into context.
Trudeau says he will put an inquiry into motion within 30 days of his run as Canada’s next Prime Minister. The United Nations and the Native Women’s Association of Canada have done a lot of preliminary work to help with that investigation as well. But what are we as grassroots individuals doing to change?