Magazine article Anglican Journal

Coming Face to Face with Effects of Colonialism

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Coming Face to Face with Effects of Colonialism

Article excerpt

BEFORE COMING ON this Canada World Youth exchange to the Philippines, I never really understood the term "colonialism." In fact, I never really thought about it, even when I was learning about development in a high school world issues class or hearing about Native Canadians in Anglican residential schools.

On this exchange, participants were challenged to examine our world view and to reflect on the effects a colonial mentality might have on the developing world. I still didn't give it much thought, though.

It was only when we were listening to one of the Filipino participants give a cultural presentation on indigenous people that I came face to face with colonialism. He was describing some of the native traditions here. For example, do not defecate near a water source as you might offend spirits who could make you sick. It's obvious, this is a wise law. There were others like it, many about respecting one's natural surroundings.

Unfortunately, because most of these laws incorporate spirits, the Christian missionaries who came to the Philippines rejected them all. At present, the indigenous way of life here is mostly replaced by the customs of those missionaries. This is a state of affairs with which my fellow participants, Filipinos and Canadians, are not too pleased.

I am now recognizing other signs of colonialism. During community research, some informants were more compliant and helpful if Canadians were present. In conversation, some community members assumed that I was an authority on various topics, even though I am only 19. Because of my pale skin, I've received compliments; but I've never considered myself a knockout and, in my view, the native Cordilleras are very striking. …

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