Simpson’s concept of a “dream palace” wherein he associated the desire of Aboriginal leaders like Chief Spence seeking to return to “traditional practices” and ways of living as being similar to a form of creative fiction is, unfortunately, correct. Simply put, the essay writer concept of Northern Sustainability is incompatible with a move towards “traditional practices” given the necessities many aboriginal people need today. Ranging from medicine to various everyday needs (ex: canned or preserved food), these items are a manifestation of modern day living that makes it easier for people to live. However, these require sources of funds in order to be purchased and, as such, since there is little in the way of a substantial market for Aboriginal goods made through traditional methods and sold through conventional means, results in few or any local northern groups being able to generate sufficient funds to purchase items necessary to endure the cold winter months.
Northern sustainability is not about eschewing all traditional practices and cultural elements in favor of the modern way of doings things; rather, it focuses on the preservation of such features while at the same time advocating for a slight modernization in how native tribes approach the concept of income generation. Local tribes need to work together with the government to incorporate new revenue sources in such a way that it preserves their unique culture while at the same time makes it for accessible to consumers. Failure to do so is likely to result in a considerable level of incompatibility between the needs of members of local tribes for income generating opportunities and the demand for products and services from such sources. One manifestation of this conflict can be seen in the case of insufficient social homes to accommodate the homeless people in North Surrey.
A large percentage of these individuals located on Whalley and 104 avenues are composed of people from local tribes who do not have a consistent level of income and who are “suffering” so to speak of the effects of the dream palace point of view that Simpson said. What this shows is that the dream palace is not a sufficient means of creating northern sustainability and, as such, reveals the necessity of an alternative approach that takes into consideration the need to preserve the cultural heritage of Northern Tribes while at the same time helps them to generate sufficient levels of income to address their needs. It is the assumption of this analysis that northern sustainability is possible by focusing on the creation of jobs that enable consumers to experience the cultures and traditions of the tribes of the north.
The basis behind cultural tourism is that it takes the culture and traditions of northern tribes and transforms it into an economically sustainable model that can be marketed to tourists (Boyd, 2002). Examples of this in action can be seen in the case of various Native American tribes promoting “Native American Living” adventures that give people guide tours into their way of life, what their culture is about, what they eat, and what forms the basis of their traditions (New Exhibits Promote Native American Cultural Tourism, 2010). Through these “adventures” tourists gain a better understanding of why Native American tribes in the United States try so hard to preserve their way of life in the face of modernity and obsolescence (Piner & Paradis, 2004).
The same method can be adopted to establish a means of northern sustainability by focusing on developing jobs that specifically focus on showcasing northern traditions in action. This can come in the form of introducing tourists to the rituals and celebrations of northern tribes, giving a hiking tour around traditional tribe lands and showing visitors what practices from the past continue to the present when it comes to surviving in the wilderness (Derbawka, 2004). Aside from this, local tribe food could be subtly transformed to become more palatable for the consumption of tourists, and there could even be a gift shop located near the tribe where tourists can visit after their tribal experience where they can pick up a wide assortment of native memorabilia and handcrafted items (Derbawka, 2004).
The advantage of this proposed scenario is that not only can it address the issue of economic and environmental sustainability but it also ensures that social aspects of the issue as well since it allows cultural traditions and heritages to be preserved in the long-term. By transforming the traditions of native tribes into a “product” that can be experienced, this creates a means for them to promote themselves as a culture and is likely to cause more members of their tribe to remain within the community instead of seeking job opportunities outside of the tribe.
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How Does This Address the Issue of Homelessness in North Surrey?
The problem of homelessness in North Surrey is connected to northern sustainability since many of these individuals are from tribes that have been unable to match their “dream palace” with the realities of living in the modern day era. The proposed method focuses on job creation and long-term sustainability for the tribe; however, what is missing from it is the assistance of the government in connecting the income generating model of cultural tourism into a means of sustainable living for northern tribesmen. While the primary focus of the proposed revenue generating system is to help northern tribes be independent of government subsidies to their way of life, it is also necessary to assimilate them into the modern system to a certain extent.
This comes in the form of government loan subsidies that can be issued to tribes for the construction of homes and facilities that would enable them to not only house their tribesmen but would also help them set up potential lodgings for tourists that would come to experience their way of life. The justification behind this lies in Simpson’s essay wherein he indicated that Chief Spence and his tribe were living in an area that was prone to flooding and refused to relocate to a better area. Through this example, it can be seen that by providing government subsidies for housing that specifically focus on promoting the traditions of northern tribes, it is likely that they would be more willing to relocate since they are not eschewing their culture in favor of another; rather, they are just utilizing a different means of preserving it for future generations.
Does it Address the “Dream Palace Issue Brought up by Simon?
Simon’s “dream palace” remark was the result of this perception that first nation people in Canada are not thinking realistically when it comes to the preservation and continuation of their native traditions. From his point of view, these individuals are eschewing the security and stability of the state for traditions and practices that are simply not sustainable in the modern age. For example, hunting native species in local forests as well as whaling (highly illegal) are all looked down upon by the government unless the individuals in question have a permit to do so which most of the tribesmen do not.
Taking these factors into consideration, the transition from subsistence living into cultural tourism does help to address the dream palace issue brought about by Simon. From a social perspective, it sustains the idea that the culture and heritage of first nation people do have a certain level of relevance and value in present day society. It shows that, with the right strategy and initiative, a people’s culture can be utilized as a “product” so to speak that can help them gain the necessary income to address many of the problems that they are currently experiencing such as their dependence on government handouts and the lack economic stability that many of their members suffer from. Homelessness can similarly be resolved through this method through the communal nature of these tribes wherein homes, and tribal buildings can be constructed via the money gained through cultural tourism and via government assistance.
Issues that Need to be Taken into Consideration
Before proceeding with the concept of cultural tourism, it is important to first develop the initial framework behind it that can result in a certain level of success. The first issue involves what can be determined as “ancestral land” for the tribes to function on in the case of North Surrey. Technically, most of the land in the surrounding forests belongs to the government; however, land could be potentially allocated for sustainable long-term cultural tourism if it helps to ensure that first nation people will not be dependent on government subsidies in the future. This can be areas that are relatively isolated but still close to the main roads of North Surrey so that they can be accessible by tourists. The government would need to create some means of funding the initial establishment of facilities to house the visiting tourists and for the local first nation “instructors” who will help the visitors understand the culture and traditions of the first nation people. These sessions can come in the form of treks into the nearby woods to help them understand how the first nation people initially survived in areas like this before the arrival of colonists from France and other countries. The instructors would show how food was typically caught, not by actually catching animals, but by helping the tourists understand where animals normally congregate, how a hunter looks for a sign that an animal has passed recently, and what are the usual practices associated with gutting and skinning an animal. Aside from this, the instructors can also inform the tourists on why certain practices are the way they are and what has changed within the past few decades as more first nation people are introduced to the modern way. The basis behind these practices is to help tourists understand the importance of preserving the traditions of a group of people that have been around before the first colonists set foot on Canada.
Promoting the Endeavor
To ensure the success of this type of cultural tourism, it would be necessary for the government to help support it through the assistance of non-profit organizations that are located in Canada that focus on assisting first nation tribes. This can be accomplished through the use of online advertising campaigns, ads on government websites or even the news media wherein news stories of the “lessons” on tribal living that the first nation people are offering can be advertised. Through such efforts, this should generate sufficient public awareness to the extent that people would sign up for the guided tours and lessons.
Based on everything that has been presented so far in this analysis, it can be stated that northern sustainability is possible by focusing on the creation of jobs that enable consumers to experience the cultures and traditions of the tribes of the north. Cultural tourism is the best solution to the issue of first nation people going homeless in the face of the expanding nature of Canadian society and their interaction with it. By helping them create a sustainable method of income generation that preserves their culture, this ensures that they are likely to become more amenable towards government intervention in their society. However, it should be noted that the first nation people cannot accomplish this alone. They need the help of the government to provide the necessary financial assistance to get things moving in the form of various simply facilities that are located near forests and what can be considered as “tribal lands” or the equivalent thereof. While this may seem to be an additional burden on the part of the government, this can pay off in the long-term as the first nation people learn how to become more self-sufficient without having to rely on government handouts for necessities or medicine that they might need.
Boyd, S. (2002). Cultural and heritage tourism in Canada: Opportunities,principles and challenges. Tourism & Hospitality Research, 3(3), 211.
Bunten, A. C. (2008). Sharing culture or selling out?. American Ethnologist, 35(3), 380.
New Exhibits Promote Native American Cultural Tourism. (2010). Polish American Journal, 99(4), 12.
Derbawka, P. (2004). First Nation serving up a piece of the past for tourists. Saskatchewan Sage, 8(12), 5.
Piner, J. M., & Paradis, T. W. (2004). Beyond the Casino: Sustainable Tourism and Cultural Development on Native American Lands. Tourism Geographies, 6(1), 80-98.