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Stereotype of the Month Entry

Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

From: Canada.com Network Website -- National News Section

Atlantic Native Leaders Say New History Textbook Riddled With Errors

John Lewandowski
Canadian Press

Sunday, September 12, 2004

HALIFAX (CP) -- Native leaders in Atlantic Canada are demanding that a social studies textbook being prepared for Grade 7 students be delayed due to concerns about historical errors and stereotyping.

"There is a great deal at stake to ensure history is correct; for the general public to clearly know who we are and why specific issues are of great importance to our people," said Stewart Paul, co-chair of the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs.

The chiefs said they were not asked to participate in designing the book, called Changing Your World: Investigating Empowerment, which will be in classrooms throughout Atlantic Canada by the fall of 2005.

The book is scheduled to be published by mid-November.

The chiefs said the draft they viewed earlier this year was filled with serious misinformation, distortions and omissions regarding Mi'kmaq, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy history.

Andrea Bear-Nicholas, who teaches native studies at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, said it's a matter of the truth being told.

"Let's get it out there so it can be debated. Why do we have to always be fighting the ignorance that's out there?" she asked.

Bear-Nicholas said the 700-page draft she received last May, after more than a year of requests, was riddled with mistakes.

She said there were problems with the portrayal of treaties and land claims and a disturbing avoidance of words like racism and genocide.

"They talk about the Beothucks of Newfoundland as simply having disappeared when there was a genocidal campaign to get rid of them," said Bear-Nicholas.

Some historical accounts suggest the Newfoundland natives were hunted and harassed to extinction in the early 1800s by European settlers, while others suggest they died for a number of other reasons, including starvation and disease.

The Canadian Press 2004

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Stereotyping Indians by omission

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