The Politics of Allyship with Indigenous Peoples in the Canadian Refugee Serving Sector

Authors

  • Chizuru Nobe-Ghelani York University
  • Mbalu Lumor Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.40841

Keywords:

Indigenous-refugee relations, allyship, settler colonial Canada, refugee-serving sector

Abstract

What does it mean for the refugee-serving sector to be an ally to Indigenous Peoples? This is the entry point to our reflexive journey on Indigenous–refugee relations. In this conceptually orientated article, the authors seek to consider decolonizing in the refugee-serving sector in the context of settler colonial Canada. The article examines the politics of the refugee-serving sector and argue that for it to meaningfully establish with Indigenous people, we must continue to the whiteness that has constructed and organized our sector. The authors highlight the tensions that exist in between Indigenous and refugee communities and discuss ways to work with those tensions. Three concrete approaches are suggested that may lead to decolonizing in the refugee-serving sector: critical reflexivity, settler responsibility, and renewing relationships with local Indigenous communities and lands.

Author Biographies

Chizuru Nobe-Ghelani, York University

Chizuru Nobe-Ghelani is a Sessional Instructor at the School of Social Work at York University. She can be reached at cnghel1@yorku.ca.

Mbalu Lumor, Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture

Mbalu Lumor is a Senior Manager Programs and Newcomers Services at the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture. She can be reached at mlumor@ccvt.org.

References

Amadahy, Z., & Lawrence, B. (2009). Indigenous Peoples and Black people in Canada: Settlers or allies? In A. Kempf (Ed.), Breaching the colonial contract: Anti-colonialism in the US and Canada (Explorations of Educational Purpose series, vol. 8, pp. 105–136). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9944-1_7 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9944-1_7

Anderson, B. (2014, January). Exclusion, failure, and the politics of citizenship (RCIS Working Paper No. 2014/1). Ryerson Centre for Immigration & Settlement. https://www.ryerson.ca/content/dam/centre-for-immigration-and-settlement/RCIS/publications/workingpapers/2014_1_Anderson_Bridget_Exclusion_Failure_and_the_Politics_of_Citizenship.pdf

Arat-Koç, S. (2012). A transnational whiteness? New middle classes, globalism and non-European “whiteness.” In N. Falkof & O. Cashman-Brown (Eds.), On whiteness: Critical issues: Imaginative research in changing world (pp. 59–68). Inter-Disciplinary Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9781848881051_007

Asher, N. (2009). Writing home/decolonizing text(s). Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 30(1), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1080/01596300802643033 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/01596300802643033

Bannerji, H. (2000). The dark side of the nation: Essays on multiculturalism, nationalism and gender. Canadian Scholars’ Press.

Battell Lowman, E., & Barker, A. J. (2015). Settler: Identity and colonialism in 21st century Canada. Fernwood Publishing.

Bosniak, L. (2006). The citizen and the alien: Dilemmas of contemporary membership. Princeton University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9781400827510

Bradfield, A. (2019). Decolonizing the intercultural: A call for decolonizing consciousness in settler-colonial Australia. Religions, 10(8), Article 469. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080469 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080469

Cahuas, M. C. (2020). The struggle and (im)possibilities of decolonizing Latin American citizenship practices and politics in Toronto. Society and Space, 3(2), 209–228. https://doi.org/10.1177/0263775820915998 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0263775820915998

Canadian Council for Refugees. (n.d.). The resettlement of Indochinese refugees in Canada: Looking back after twenty years. https://ccrweb.ca/sites/ccrweb.ca/files/static-files/20thann.html

Canadian Council for Refugees. (2020). CCR member organizations. https://ccrweb.ca/en/members

Coleman, D. (2006). White civility: The literary project of English Canada. University of Toronto Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3138/9781442683358

Dauvergne, C. (2005). Humanitarianism, identity, and nation: Migration laws of Australia and Canada. UBC Press.

Dion, S. (2007). Disrupting molded images: Identities, responsibilities and relationships—Teachers and Indigenous subject material. Teaching Education, 18(4),329–342. https://doi.org/10.1080/10476210701687625 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10476210701687625

Fellows, M. L., & Razack, S. (1998). The race to innocence: Confronting hierarchical relations among women. The Journal of Gender, Race & Justice, 1, 335–352. https://scholarship.law.umn.edu/faculty_articles/274

Furniss, E. (1999). The burden of history: Colonialism and the frontier myth in a rural Canadian community. UBC Press.

Haig-Brown, C., & Dannenmann, K. (2002). A pedagogy of the land: Dreams of respectful relations. McGill Journal of Education, 37(3), 451–468. https://mje.mcgill.ca/article/view/8649

Iacovetta, F. (2006). Gatekeepers: Reshaping immigrant lives in Cold War Canada. Between the Lines Publishing.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. (2020). Canada—Admissions of Syrian refugees under Canada’s Syrian Refugee Resettlement Commitment by province/territory of intended destination, gender, age group and immigration category, November 4th, 2015–November 30th, 2019 [Data set]. https://open.canada.ca/data/en/dataset/01c85d28-2a81-4295-9c06-4af792a7c209

Jafri, B. (2012, March 21). Privilege vs. complicity: People of colour and settler colonialism. Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences Blog. https://www.ideas-idees.ca/blog/privilege-vs-complicity-people-colour-and-settler-colonialism

Koleszar-Green, R. (2018). What is a guest? What is a settler? Cultural and Pedagogical Inquiry, 10(2), 166–177. https://doi.org/10.18733/cpi29452 DOI: https://doi.org/10.18733/cpi29452

Lawrence, B. (2002). “Real” Indians and others: Mixed-blood urban Native Peoples and Indigenous nationhood. University of Nebraska Press.

Lawrence, B., & Dua, E. (2005). Decolonizing antiracism. Social Justice, 32(4), 120–143. http://www.jstor.org/stable/29768340

Leduc, T. (2017). “Let us continue free as the air”: Truthfully reconciling social work education to Indigenous lands. Journal of Social Work Education, 54(3), 412–425. https://doi.org/10.1080/10437797.2018.1434445 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10437797.2018.1434445

Lee, J. (2016). Non-white settler and Indigenous relations: Decolonizing possibilities for social justice. Lectora, 22, 13–26.

Mackey, E. (2002). The house of difference: Cultural politics and national identity in Canada. University of Toronto Press.

McGrath, S., & McGrath, I. (2013). Funding matters: The maze of settlement funding in Canada and the impact on refugee services. Canadian Journal of Urban Research, 22(1), 1–20. http://www.jstor.org/stable/26193923

Molnar, P. (2016). The boy on the beach: The fragility of Canada’s discourses on the Syrian refugee “crisis.” Contention: The Multidisciplinary Journal of Social Protest, 4(1–2), 67–75. https://www.berghahnjournals.com/view/journals/contention/4/1-2/cont040106.xm DOI: https://doi.org/10.3167/cont.2016.040106

Ngo, A. (2019). The entanglements of Canada’s national identity building and Vietnamese Canadian community conflicts: Racial capitalist democracy and the Cold War neoliberal multicultural subject [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. York University.

Nobe-Ghelani, C. (2018). Learning through a reunion of mind–body–emotion–spirit: Experience of mindfulness-based reflexive practice in critical qualitative research. International Review of Qualitative Research, 11(4), 413–431. https://doi.org/10.1525/irqr.2018.11.4.413 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/irqr.2018.11.4.413

Nobe-Ghelani, C. (2019). Tracing invisible borders of Canadian citizenship: Critical analysis of social work with non-citizen migrants [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. York University.

Nobe-Ghelani, C., & Ngo, A. (2020). In search for ethical relations in social work with refugee communities: Reflections on the Syrian refugee “crisis.” Canadian Social Work Review, 37(1), 63–79. https://doi.org/10.7202/1069982ar DOI: https://doi.org/10.7202/1069982ar

Phung, M. (2011). Are people of colour settlers too? In A. Mathur, J. Dewar, & M. DeGagne (Eds)., Cultivating Canada: Reconciliation through the lens of cultural diversity (pp. 289–298). Aboriginal Healing Foundation. https://www.ahf.ca/downloads/cultivating-canada-pdf.pdf

Razack, S. (2002). Introduction: When place becomes race. In S. Razack (Ed.), Race, space, and the law: Unmapping a white settler society (pp. 1–20). Between the Lines.

Sharma, N. (2006). Home economics: Nationalism and the making of “migrant workers” in Canada. University of Toronto Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3138/9781442675810

Sharma, N., & Wright, C. (2008-09). Decolonizing resistance, challenging colonial states. Social Justice, 35(3), 120–138. http://www.jstor.org/stable/29768504

Simpson, L. B. (2011). Dancing on our turtles back. Arbeiter Ring Publishing.

Simpson, L. B. (2014). Land as pedagogy: Nishnaabeg intelligence and rebellious transformation. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 3(3), 1–25. https://jps.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/des/article/view/22170

Smith, L. T. (2012). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (2nd ed.). Zed Books.

Thobani, S. (2007). Exalted subjects: Studies in the making of race and nation in Canada. University of Toronto Press.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (2015). Honouring the truth, reconciling for the future: Summary of the final report. http://www.trc.ca/assets/pdf/Honouring_the_Truth_Reconciling_for_the_Future_July_23_2015.pdf

Tuck, E., McKenzie, M., & McCoy, K. (2014). Land education: Indigenous, post-colonial, and decolonizing perspectives on place and environmental education research. Environmental Education Research, 20(1), 1–23. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2013.877708 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2013.877708

Tuck, E., & Yang, W. (2012). Decolonization is not a metaphor. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 1(1), 1–40. https://jps.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/des/article/view/18630

Twance, M. (2019). Learning from land and water: Exploring mazinaabikiniganan as Indigenous epistemology. Environment Education Research, 25(9), 1319–1333. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2019.1630802 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2019.1630802

Vowel, C. (2016). Indigenous writes: A guide to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit issues in Canada. Highwater Press.

Walia, H. (2010). Transient servitude: Migrant labour in Canada and the apartheid of citizenship. Race & Class, 52(1), 71–84. https://doi.org/10.1177/0306396810371766 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0306396810371766

Walia, H. (2013). Undoing border imperialism. AK Press/Institute for Anarchist Studies.

Wildcat, M., McDonald, M., Irlbacher-Fox, S., & Coulthard, G. (2014). Learning from the land: Indigenous land based pedagogy and decolonization. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 3(3), i–xv. https://jps.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/des/article/view/22248

Wong, R. (2008). Decolonizasian: Reading Asian and First Nations relations in literature. Canadian Literature, 199, 158–178. https://canlit.ca/article/decolonizasian-reading-asian-and-first-nations-relations-in-literature/

Published

2022-04-29

How to Cite

Nobe-Ghelani, C., & Lumor, M. (2022). The Politics of Allyship with Indigenous Peoples in the Canadian Refugee Serving Sector. Refuge: Canada’s Journal on Refugees, 38(1), 111–125. https://doi.org/10.25071/1920-7336.40841