Column: Native people missing from science fiction
"This has got to be one of my most unusual columns, but in this rapidly evolving world, you have to keep abreast of the changing times. It's no secret to most Canadians that the image trustand perception of Native people their parents grew up with has significantly changed. The spectrum of jobs open to First Nations people now includes doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs, as the old cliche goes. Quoting the Ethel Merman song, "Anything you can do, I can do better" has become our mantra.

It's the same with literature. Native writers, once considered as rare as a Conservative at a union meeting, are flourishing in all forms of literary expression. Libraries and books stores across the country carry aboriginal novels about love and broken hearts, detectives, politics, war, and even fantasy. If it can be imagined, it can be written. I think an Elder once told me that.

Yet there is one area that Native people haven't yet completely embraced. I am talking about science fiction. The few aboriginal footprints wandering across the lunar landscape are, for the most part, moccasins worn by white astronauts. How's that for a metaphor!

Perhaps the best known would be Chakotay from the Star Trek series, Voyager, though I don't know if it's the Canadian or aboriginal in me that keeps wanting to call it Voyageur. Be that as it may, he is the second-in-command and sports a cool and funky tattoo on his face. They never actually say what nation he is, but I do believe its some central American tribe. In one episode though, they find a lost branch of his people living on a planet clear across the galaxy. They were no doubt sent there by some future non-indigenous government intent on establishing its sovereignty. It's been done before, just ask the Inuit of Grise Fiord. "

Get the Story:
Drew Hayden Taylor: Our fiction's short on science (The Peterborough Examiner 4/7)

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