Tense relationship between Indigenous people and immigrants inspires academics to bring groups together

February 12, 2020

By CBC News |

When Ranjan Datta immigrated to Canada 10 years ago, he was bombarded with negative attitudes toward Indigenous people, mostly from fellow immigrants.

“I heard Indigenous people are not doing enough. There are many other misconceptions as well,” said Datta, a researcher at the University of Saskatchewan, on CBC’s Saskatoon Morning.

He said his conception changed when he moved here and became friends with Indigenous people. But still, he heard negative remarks toward the way indigenous people live.

“Even some of the faculty members, they are saying, ‘Indigenous people getting free tax. They’re not working.'”

One person told Datta that residential schools were “good” for Indigenous people.

“When I heard this conception or misconception — I hear this is not the lack of education, they still lack the opportunity to learn,” said Datta.

Datta reached out to Chris Scribe, the director of the Indigenous Teacher Education Program (ITEP) at the University of Saskatchewan, to help build relationships between Indigenous people and immigrants.

“We also faced a similar issue back home Bangladesh. So for me, it was kind of easier understanding what kind of racism is going on,” said Datta.

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