Drew Hayden Taylor is THE MAN when it comes to thinking, talking, and writing writing writing about Native humor. He’s written 17 books, has had 75 productions of his plays, directed a documentary, Redskins, Tricksters and Puppy Stew, finished his first novel to come out next year, and has just completed a comedy pilot for Canadian television called Mixed Blessings.
We will be having an upcoming feature where Drew talks talks about what Native humor is, what it means, and why it is so damned funny. But, before we wax academic, let’s share a few laughs. Drew Taylor style…
I AM ABORIGINAL
At a pow wow recently I saw a native person walking the grounds wearing one of those, “I AM CANADIAN” t-shirts that are so popular these days, several years after the similarly popular television commercial of the same topic. On the shirt were a series of pithy and semi-humourous observations about the Canadian lifestyle, as opposed to the American way of life.
Yet, most First Nations people would argue that they are first and foremost (insert own First Nations here) before they are Canadian as a matter of Indigenous pride. Except of course, when traveling abroad. In places like China and Cuba, when I say I’m Ojibway, I get blank stares. “Canadian” cuts the explanations down quite considerably.
So, in order to achieve a kind of cultural pride parity, I would like to substitute this humble alternative for the “I AM CANADIAN” t-shirt campaign.
I have a dreamcatcher but it was given to me by a white person.
I do not own a canoe but I know somebody who does.
I have lived here forever but only been citizen since 1960.
I’ve never rubbed noses as a sign of affection but I’d be more than willing to try.
I do not personally have a land claim but I have not ruled out the possibility.
I have enjoyed watching Graham Greene on television and reading the other Graham Greene’s novels.
I have lived on the reserve and in the city.
I watch APTN and CNN.
I am Ojibway/Cree/Iroquois/Haida/Inuit/etc. but I am also Canadian.
I personally have never worn buckskin but I do support that indigenous right.
I am not from India but I do like their food.
I am better with a video game than a bow and arrow.
Contrary to popular belief, I do pay taxes and like you, I find it annoying.
I was at Oka, if not in body then in spirit.
I have ridden a horse, if not in body then in spirit.
My great great grandmother was part white but that doesn’t change anything.
I have never hunted buffalo but I’ve had their wings.
Contrary to popular belief I prefer my baloney raw, not fried.
I love going to a pow wow as much as I love going to a hockey game.
I am glad you had a Native friend once but I’m sorry, I do not know all of the approximately one million people of Aboriginal heritage in Canada.
Yes I have seen Dances With Wolves but it is not my favourite movie.
I drive a Chevy pickup, a Ford Escort, Kia Sportage, a Hyandai Tucson, and a Kawasaki.
I listen to country music, rock, rap, blues and opera.
I have blonde/brown/black/red/grey hair.
I have a university degree.
I own my own house, and it is not a teepee.
I AM ABORIGINAL.
Copyright 2006 Drew Hayden Taylor
Drew Hayden Taylor’s books can be purchased on Amazon-Canada and www.goodminds.com
Official website: www.drewhaydentaylor.com