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Reconciling and Rehumanizing Indigenous–Settler Relations: An Applied Anthropological Perspective
Ferrara, Nadia
Lexington Books / Softcover / 2016-09-01 / 1498513506
Aboriginal Issues
reg price: $55.50 our price: $ 49.95 (may be subject to change)
182 pages
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Reconciling and Rehumanizing Indigenous-Settler Relations: An Applied Anthropological Perspective presents a unique and honest account of an applied anthropologist’s experience in working with Indigenous peoples of Canada. It illustrates Dr. Nadia Ferrara’s efforts in reconciliation and rehumanization, showing that it is all about recognizing our shared humanity. In this self-reflective narrative, the author describes her personal experience of marginalization and how it contributed to a more in-depth understanding of how others are marginalized, as well as the fundamental sense of belongingness and connectedness. The book is enriched with stories and insights from her fieldwork as a clinician, a university professor, and a bureaucrat. Dr. Ferrara shows how she has applied her experience as an art therapist in Indigenous communities to her current work in policy development to ensure the policies created reflect their current realities. Reconciling and Rehumanizing Indigenous-Settler Relations describes the cultural competency course for public servants Dr. Ferrara is leading, as a means to break down stereotypes and showcase the resilience of Indigenous peoples. She makes a compassionate and urgent call to all North Americans to connect with their responsibility and compassion, and acknowledge the injustices that the original peoples of this land have faced and continue to face. Reconciliation requires concrete action and it starts with the individual’s self-reflection, engagement in authentic human-to-human dialogue, learning from one another, and working together towards a better future, all of which is chronicled in this insightful book.


This book is concerned with reconciliation between 'settlers' and Indigenous peoples in Canada, a laudable, worthy, challenging, and necessary undertaking. Readers may gain understanding and perspective based on the author’s varied experiences with Indigenous individuals and whole communities as an art therapist and later as a government policy analyst. . . .This book is not really about Indigenous peoples, but rather about the author’s transformation. This is an important distinction, because cleaning up one’s own backyard is a critical aspect of the efforts implied by the above-noted chapter titles. Thus, for readers willing to engage from that perspective, the book is primarily useful for non-Aboriginal people to build respectful relationships. This is what makes it important. It may be most helpful for researchers, academics, and professionals, but others will find the many anecdotes and postcolonial analyses thoughtful encouragement to take a look in the mirror. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Most levels/libraries.

Don't let the ‘applied anthropologist’ perspective fool you. Nadia Ferrara in her treatise is anything but applying anthropology. Rather she takes the reader through a retrospective journey of life engagements that ebb and flow through enduring communities. The key that she unlocks is a deep respect and appreciation for community development, but in the spirit of what is called Indigenous planning. To paraphrase, it is about using identity and cultural values to inform ‘one’s competence, self-awareness, and knowledge to build effective relationships.’ It begins at first breath and it is nurtured until death. The community embodies that collective history in its worldview and it is through interrelationships across generations that this is nurtured. This is the relationship that the author imparts. It is one that must be heeded.
— Theodore Jojola, University of New Mexico


Chapter 1: Building Bridges
Chapter 2: Being the Other
Chapter 3: Re-building Trust through Dialogic Exchange
Chapter 4: Translating Lived Realities
Chapter 5: Personal Lived Reality: Opening of my Self
Chapter 6: Engaging in Reconciliation
Chapter 7: Ethical Responsibility
Chapter 8: Conclusion: Towards Intergenerational Reconciliation
Epilogue: Coming Home: Bi-Giiwe

About the Author:

Nadia Ferrara is a senior policy manager in the Government of Canada, Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, where she leads a course in cultural competence for public servants.

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