BEING NATIVE … AFTER COLONIALISM

Centuries ago, Europe occupied the Northerm region of America, with consequences to the native populations. Yet, this occupation has reverberated until the present time. One such way is in the languages of native America. The effects of this linguistic imperialism have perpetually and indefinitely altered the lives of native Americans, until thte presentt time For example, native Americans are being socialized into a world where their land is a strange one, and topogaphy is now someone else’s, or at least, that was the intention of the colonizers. The natives would ultimately see this as a case of gross erasure (see Irvine and Gal’s work), as a silencing of language and identity.

The indigenous people of North America encountered Norse colonizers with few expectations with regards to the fact that such an attempt to erase their histories would become realized. Owing to the richness of the newly discovered land, the Norse, and other new colonizers, would refuse to leave, and to abandon the potential of this new opportunity. Yet, in the process, the linguistic and cultural imperialism and erasure would rob a humanity of themselves, at the time and throughout time.

This phenomenon is not unique to the United States. The same linguistic imperialism has occured in Australia, South Africa, the larger African continent, Southeast Asia, and in many parts of the world. More significantly, the process is not new, it has been an ongoing one for millenia, where colonizers seek to establish trade routes and to enforce their political and economic power, by mixing and by sowing the seeds of culture and language in new lands, as a connection to home.