Decolonization is the process of undoing colonialism within one or several countries. For understanding decolonization, it is vital to consider the notion of colonization itself. To the country, colonization means the process of conquering the territory and the country’s lands. Moreover, colonization has multiple adverse effects such as the raping of women, child kidnapping, infringement of rights, slavery, and discrimination by race or gender (TEDx Talks, 2019). These factors leave a specific imprint on the lives of indigenous, colonized people in Canada and worldwide. Therefore, it is informative to consider why we need to decolonize countries. Moreover, it is feasible to look at how colonization impacted colonized people and what decolonization means to a person.
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Colonization and its Effects
To start with, the notion of colonization is crucial to almost everyone because it happened over the globe. Due to the Earth’s long history, people moved from one country to another, attempting to approach new territories. In general, colonialism aims to conquer and develop new territory by replacing the existing population with colonizers. It is an essential issue for understanding the chain of situations that happened to indigenous peoples. It is also necessary to grasp that many countries were established through the colonization process. For example, in Canada, indigenous people were subjected to rapes, genocides, and many other violations. Colonizers desired to assign the countries’ territories by removing people from their homeland and making native Canadians extinct.
Furthermore, colonizers attempted to civilize indigenous people by employing cultural, sexual, and physical violence. As seen from history, colonizers created residential schools for the indigenous Canadians to educate and assimilate them into society. These schools were active for a long time; it is also worth mentioning that the last school closed in 1996 (TEDx Talks, 2019). Besides, the mortality rate in these schools was often above 50 percent; there were also tests of electric chairs and starvation effects on students of residential schools (TEDx Talks, 2019). This physical and psychological abuse was done to make indigenous people submissive to colonizers and their policies.
Moreover, colonizers wanted to remove indigenous people of Canada from their native lands to benefit from Canada’s natural resources (TEDx Talks, 2019). Traditionally, the country is one of the largest petrostates and enriched with tar sands (Parson & Ray, 2016). However, the desire to receive the natural resource became a massive problem for native Canadians; the extraction still has its effects and results in enormous economic and ecological catastrophes for the country. It becomes clear that colonizers attempted to take advantage of the country’s resources, which is one of the primary reasons for colonization.
Overcoming the impacts of the colonization
One big concern is what we should do with the impacts of the colonization history? The answer might be relatively ambiguous; Canadians still feel guilt and shame for the chain of events during colonization (TEDx Talks, 2019). However, the main message is that people should not feel guilty; rather, they should take responsibility for recovering from the impacts that colonization brought to people’s lives. One of the possible ways to solve this question is to start the process of decolonization.
In this case, decolonization becomes a lifestyle that moves people forward happy future, leaving the experiences of the past behind. People have to be brave enough to look at their history for practical actions for a successful future (TEDx Talks, 2019). Linguistic revitalization, the work of land-based defense, and practices should become a concern for indigenous people whether their ancestors were colonized or colonizers (TEDx Talks, 2019).
What does decolonization mean to me?
Indeed, we cannot erase the past; but we can take actions to recover from the consequences of decolonization. Besides, there are some examples of successful decolonization for the countries. For instance, African and Indian territories received independence and strive to develop their infrastructures for the better. Therefore, Canadian territories might be revealed from a new, positive angle, and people may rewrite history from a new unique perspective.
Moreover, for many Canadians, this violent colonization history means a lot. For instance, colonization in Canada was guided by the belief that indigenous people need to be oppressed and led to self-extinction. If the person is more than a first-generation Canadian, their parents or grandparents faced the historical bystander trauma (TEDx Talks, 2019). Probably, most of my friends’ and my older natives witnessed the effects of colonization. There is no matter if somebody’s ancestors were colonizers or colonized because finally, all these people became victims of the colonization’s impacts. Thus, the notion of decolonization is significant; perhaps, nowadays, it is essential to recover from the effects of the violent history, irrespective of nations, locations, and the past in general. For me personally, it means that there is no need to blame somebody for those consequences brought by colonization; instead, we need to produce a better future.
Undoubtedly, the effects of colonization left a specific psychological imprint on the past and current generations. There is no sense to turn back to the violent past; instead, it has to be repaired by the joint united efforts. The world might need a new generation that will bring something better to society and create a better world without violence for everybody. It can be possible to do with the help of integrated power of those who strive to change their lives for the better.
Parson, S., & Ray, E. (2016). Sustainable colonization: Tar sands as resource colonialism. Capitalism nature socialism, 29(3), 68–86. Web.
TEDx Talks. (2019). Decolonization is for everyone | Nikki Sanchez | TEDxSFU. YouTube. Web.