Sunday, December 17, 2023

Personal Transformation in the Settler Experience - a tall tale.

I've been to meetings were settler folks talk about how transformative their First Nation community visit is for them. They share these experiences as a kind of validation of their goodwill, as indicators of their capacity to hear and to care. 

I wonder what about our communities is so transformative for them.

Is it the welcome they receive upon arrival when they are feed and greeted warmly?

They almost sound surprised when they assure us they, and those with them, found their experience personally transformative, a kind of personal epiphany.

I wonder what about them transformed.

They seem the same to me. Perhaps they are bit relieved that they get to do what they had wanted to do all along. 

I sit there and wonder at it all. 

Is it that it is transformative to realize that Indigenous people are just people? Is it transformative to have one's guilt absolved by meeting generous hosts? I really don't know. 

I ask them what was transformative.

Their answer seem incoherent, half phrases and pauses. By asking I seem to call into question their experience, their gift they just shared with us. It is as though by asking I am taking back their transformation.

Another meeting, another sharing of personal transformation. 

This time I just listen. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Commemorating the Anthropological Contemplations of Professor Gerald Sider with Gerald Sider

 The following are my speaking notes for a roundtable presentation at the CASCA/AAA meetings in Toronto. I'm not able to be there so I share my comments here instead.

The session is called "Transitions With and Against the Yesterdays and Tomorrows: Commemorating the Anthropological Contemplations of Professor Gerald Sider with Gerald Sider." Organized by L. Jane McMillian, Chair and Professor of the Department of Anthropology at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Her PhD is from the University of British Columbia (2003) where I was a member of her supervisory committee.

I was a student of Gerry's at the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York (1990-1998). 

The panel is comprised of former students, students of students, and scholarly friends of Gerry and his work.

Gerry has a close relationship with Canadian anthropology, not just his longstanding work in NFLD or his affiliation to Memorial University. Gerry did a Master's degree at the University of Toronto. 

Gerry told me about how he came to do a degree at UofT (MA 1960). Apparently he hadn't set out to do it. He had found himself in Toronto. Standing in a lineup outside Robarts Library Gerry said he fell into a discussion with a rather dishevelled looking old man. They talked all manner of things. As they made their way through the lineup the old man said to Gerry, you'd like anthropology, come see me in my office about applying to graduate school - the old man was Thomas McIlwraith, noted Canadian anthropologist. Thus began Gerry's graduate instruction which took him via Chicago to the New School for his dissertation about Lumbee people in the Carolinas and their struggle for rights and dignity.

Roundtable speaking notes

I doubt I have had the same influence on my doctoral students that Gerry has had on me. But maybe I shouldn't second guess this point. I don’t necessarily follow Gerry’s advice, but I hear his voice speaking when I think about teaching, mentoring, writing, research, office politics, and plain old life. Some of Gerry’s advice I have ignored, some I do use, but I have listened carefully to all of it over the years.


I once complained to Gerry about departmental politics and wondered out loud about changing jobs. It doesn’t get any better elsewhere I was told. “Go into your classroom, close the door, teach, and ignore the politics,” Gerry said. I wasn’t convinced that really would solve things. Though I took to heart his suggestion that the politics in my department weren’t really that bad and they’re a lot worse elsewhere. Despite Gerry’s advice I did go on to apply for several jobs over the years (some of which I was offered), but always decided to stay with what I knew. I’m a long-term sticker, I like to think of this as a strong loyal streak even if others might suggest it’s courage I lack (with a nod to Lennie Gallant’s 1991 single “Is it Love I Feel (Or Courage I Lack).” 


I first met Gerry through his Newfoundland book (Culture and Class in Anthropology and History: A Newfoundland Illustration, 1987).  It was uniquely appealing to me. What can I say. This was the 1980s. I was an undergraduate at SFU. I saw myself as a revolutionary socialist.  I worked as a commercial fisherman. Gerry’s book unabashedly positioned itself as Marxist theory. And, it was about fishermen. I was hooked.


I didn’t actually meet Gerry until I was living in Toronto doing an MA in social anthropology at York University in the late 1980s. Marilyn Silverman shared info with her class about a talk Gerry was giving downtown. I don’t recall anything about the talk. I do recall it was in the HQ of the Communist Party. At least I think it was what with all the busts of Marx and Lenin and bold red posters festooned around the room. When an invite went out to join the speaker at a nearby pub I trailed along. It was interesting listening as a student to the conversation, the back-and-forth Marxist anthropology debate. What I remember most though, was the attentiveness Gerry gave to each of us at the table. Then, once and a while, he would jot something down in his notebook.  “I’d like to learn more from this person” I recall thinking.


I know that my comments are supposed to be about theory, research and writing; about how Gerry’s work, by which I assume was meant written work, has influenced my own. But I think his influence on me comes more from his willingness to share advice (whether asked for or not).  


I am intrigued by his writings. I still scan the digital libraries for things I may have missed – like his 2014 “Making and Breaking the Aboriginal Remote.” 


Even though I can’t think of a particular source, I’m pretty certain my thinking about ‘isolation’ and ‘remoteness’ that I talk about in Red Flags and Lace Coiffes (2011, originally my 1998 dissertation) arose in some manner from discussions with Gerry. I also appreciate that growing up at the end of the road (Prince Rupert, literally at the end of Highway 16 in northwest BC) also seemed to propel me to study a place called Land’s End (Finisterre). But through listening to Gerry, reading his writing, and talking with him over the years I’ve also been able to mold ideas that might not have emerged quite the way they may otherwise have.


I’ve always felt rather deficient in terms of my Marxist theory when standing alongside the other students and colleagues of Gerry’s. My own work tends toward the ethnographic, not ethnological, but please don’t make the same mistake an acquisitions editor at UBC Press did by reading simplicity in prose as a marker of an atheoretical work. But I am less drawn by the nuance of theory and more toward the telling of stories. At the same time I am interested in organizing actions, not debating details, and thus have always been a participant in political action.


During my time at CUNY I was part of the crew that took over the campus in the 1991 student occupations. Since I’m still an academic I’ve also published accounts. One is in a Marxist journal called New Proposals (a nod to Kathleen Gough’s Monthly Review paper that cost her her SFU job in the early 1970s) and the other with Kate McCaffrey and Christine Kovach in Transforming Anthropology. 


While Gerry didn’t turn me into a socialist activist – I came that way- his conversations and stories of his own history as an activist allowed students to consider it a potential and reasonable pathway through anthropology. 


Going beyond interpretation to actively trying to change things is what brought me to anthropology and ultimately attracted me to Gerry’s work and to Gerry himself.


Before I relinquish the floor I want to reflect on two stories I remember from Gerry that has helped me be a better teacher. “Scared shitless” and “Done Friday.”  As with all remembered stories I have very likely taken great liberty here and the original author may not recognize himself within them.


As an educator I am often presented with letters of accommodation from students outlining how their learning plans need to be modified. I also get many long-detailed emails from Heads, Associate Deans, and various Directors of Instruction advising me on how to make the learning experience kind, comfortable, and student-centred. Having various family members with sundry learning disabilities I totally appreciate the need to accommodate learning differences in the classroom. What I take issue with is the idea that learning happens best when learners are happy, contented, and comfortable. This is where Gerry’s story – “You have to be scared shitless, or you’re not learning comes in.”


As I recall the story we were sitting in a class of Gerry’s (it was often said the course title may change, but the class remains the same). Some question had come up, perhaps a complaint about something, perhaps an observation about how much work we were facing between all our courses, I don’t recall. What I do remember is Gerry jumping right in without hesitating and telling us that we don’t learn unless we’re scared shitless. I use this story in my teaching to underline that fact that learning, especially when it’s about emotionally wrought subjects like race, gender, colonization, and oppression can never really be a warm fuzzy kind of experience.  Learning takes work.  Learning involves taking risk. Learning forces us to come to terms with what we can't do as much as what we can do. I thank Gerry for giving me a story to tell that helps my students grapple with the disruption of learning difficult subjects in a way that often leaves them ironically comforted.  


The other story, ‘done Friday,’ is helpful with the many deadline pushers I meet in my teaching vocation. Again, I don’t quite remember the circumstances, but with this story I have a better sense of sitting in a classroom in the old grad center campus. Gerry was explaining how he had worked in the US Dept of Economics (as I recall) writing reports. He had a boss who would say “it doesn’t have to be good, it has to be done Friday.” That’s such a powerful story. I didn’t realize it at the time, but after close to thirty years teaching, I can say that is one of the best pieces of advice I ever was given. So much academic sweet and tears lands in the wastebin of regret due to streaks of perfectionism. One sadly common explanation for the need of an extension is “I need time to do the kind of job I know I can do.”  Yet so much of life is about getting it done Friday, not producing the definitive work. 


There are more such stories. They are not really for me to tell. My own story has been deeply influenced by knowing Gerry and his work. Ideas like acting against experience is a powerful antidote to naïve ideas that place ‘experience’ ahead of analysis. Appreciating the ways in which we act within and against the tyranny of disrupted lives helps make sense of a senseless world. Even more profound is to think on how we navigate between yesterday and tomorrow when today is in total chaos. Gerry has written about dark and nasty subjects. Despite that I see him as an optimist who believes tomorrow is possible even when it seems hard to believe it in the moment.


I come now to a point in my own career where I can reflect backward.  I can look forward and try to imagine what my own third age will look like. In all of this I cherish my memories of Gerry, visiting him in his home, walking along a street, having coffee together. Even though I recall Gerry once saying, in response to a family and kinship discussion, that families are no refuge from the storm of life, Gerry is very much part of my family, an uncle[1] who has guided, shaped, shared, and provoked how I think about the things I write and teach about. 


[1] In Gitxaala’s world one’s uncle is the person who takes responsibly for teaching and guiding their nieces and nephews. One might say this is a more important role even than father.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

A Pedagogy of Care in Troubled Times

Many of us have likely seen a copy of the UBC's new President’s statement on ‘respect and compassion’.


I take this as an opportunity to reflect on how we as educators carry on discussions and lectures in our classrooms.  


Anthropology can be an emotionally fraught subject, especially for new university learners. I am quite public about learning being a disruptive -potentially transformative- process. See, for example my comment on discomfort in learning. But this doesn’t mean we compel learners into being unsettled. They need to meet us on that journey, at least partway.


Educator Nell Noddings  said over the course of her career, that educators have a duty of compassion and should subscribe to a pedagogy of care. This means that we need to reflect on our relationship with students from our position of authority and control, and act within a duty of care.


We need to reflect very carefully on the subject matter we present, especially if it deviates from the core content of our course. What purpose does it serve to discuss an issue that might inflame emotion and lead to upset? Is there a pedagogical reason to do this? If there is a solid reason, then what mechanisms do we have to manage the discussion? Are there ways to achieve the same learning outcome by use of different subject matter? 


When I teach First Nations issues I tread very lightly on issues of trauma and the cultural genocide my ancestors and family were subjected to. Not because it is unimportant. Not totally because I find it triggering. But ultimately because I question the utility of moving into subject matter that most likely requires a professional therapist present to facilitate healthy dialogue. Every instructor is different, but in classes in which I am the instructor of record and am working with TAs I structure things to minimize discussions of trauma. I find there are ways to meet my learning objectives without derailing a class by a detour through trauma.


In our role as educators, we need to ask ourselves whether we have provided the learner with an opportunity to consent and remove themselves if they feel unsafe in the discussion? I don’t mean with formalized trigger or content warnings.  I mean with a constant self-critical inner gaze gauging what we are saying while we attempt to ‘read the room.’  We also need to pay attention to what students say and when it is necessary to interrupt, correct, or even refute a student speaker. It’s a tall order indeed. To do this well rarely comes naturally, it takes practice and our own willingness to engage in learning opportunities to improve our teaching arts.


Of course, we can all make mistakes, by accident or intention. Here we need to appreciate that, as with human rights issues, it’s not the intent of an educator but rather the effect of the educator’s action on the person feeling unsafe and the educator’s response. The classic example is a male colleague telling a sexist joke “I was just joking around,” he says. But the female colleagues in his workplace feel harassed by his comments and find nothing funny in his joke. As educators we have a higher burden, than do our students, to consider the effects of our teaching and in class commentaries. 


These are emotionally fraught times. It is likely that many of our students will be affected by global news. We ourselves will be affected. In this space as educators, always but particularly now, we have an obligation to teach with care and compassion as best we can. We can never truly know what is happening in the lives of those in our classrooms and how a causal comment from us might trigger emotional upset in others.


Friday, November 3, 2023

Learning builds from vulnerability and discomfort

"If you aren't scared shitless, you aren't learning," the prof said to us.

We all laughed. The prof doubled down, "Learning should shake you, disturb you, confront you and make you sit up and pay attention."

Today that prof would likely provoke a class walk out. Someone would file a complaint. Everyone in today's class would prefer to continue engaging comfortably and unchallenged in their bubbles of learning. But at the time we did sit up, we thought about it, and considered what it meant if the normal experience of learning was to be anxious, worried, or as the prof said "scared shitless." 

Learning takes work.  Learning involves taking risk. Learning forces us to come to terms with what we can't do as much as what we can do. Learning requires us to realize when we need to walk away, even if there are consequences. That's the thing though, we seem to be in a society that wants to live consequence free. That's not totally true, but in the education world it does seem to be a thing in which students and their advocates (teachers, parents, students themselves) accept there are consequences for many things in life except not doing well on an exam or an assignment (Menzies 2022)

Learning requires us to be willing to risk hearing things we don't like. It requires us to allow ourselves to be unsettled by critical commentary. It also means that as learners we will make mistakes, use turns of phrases that on second thought would have been better left unsaid. 

Teaching mainly settler students about Indigenous issues for close to three decades has made me a kind of expert on the range of ways settlers get disturbed in discussions. It's a tricky issue as I have no interest in deliberately upsetting people. That said, the reality of colonial settler society is that settlers have an unwarranted privilege and such a sense of entitlement that many of them get really cranky about being asked to check their privilege.  

Of course being unsettled by learning is not restricted to settler learners. Transformative learning should challenge all of us, should unsettle us, should lead us to become critically self aware.  That's hard work for any one.

Learning about cross cultural and intra-cultural differences should be uncomfortable. We come of age with many unquestioned values bequeathed to us. Learning is a kind of consciousness raising in which we have to step outside of ourselves a bit to examine our preconceptions. Anthropology does this by challenging received wisdom in areas of gender, sexuality, race, social class, colonialism, authority, and the list goes on. 

I often show a film that explores non-hegemonic presentations of masculinity in my intro anthropology course. Somewhere in Between is an earnest film that presents five men who talk about their exploration of their own masculinity in the context of clothing and Burning Man. Some students find the film amusing. Some take offence.  Others are puzzled. In the reflections I have had students write over the years some young men confess to finding the displays of gay and gender non-conforming clothing off putting.

This should be a chance for a learner to examine why they feel put-off or offended or amused or maybe nothing at all. To merely memorize details without thinking about it is a lost opportunity. But this is where learning becomes hard as this is the point the learner is asked to critically examine their own gender ideologies, their biases around sexuality, or their fear of not living up to a cultural norm they have never questioned. Anthropology done well reveals our vulnerabilities and discomforts us. Through this process we not only become more knowledgeable, we might also learn something about our own selves. All of which will make us better citizens of our worlds.


Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Thursday, April 13, 2023

More on communications and media professionals.

 A while back campus and community planning tweeted out a praise tweet on their campus vision 2050 plan. In it they mentioned a community connectors program. When I followed the link provided I could find nothing but a glossy pamphlet talking about their engagement but nor substantive explanation of the program. So a tweeted a reply. 


So I tried a less public approach and sent a direct message.

"On community connectors - I would like to learn more, the link you provided in your tweet does not directly or obviously connect to anything that says community connector program. I have so many questions and would really like to learn more - not about your 'consultations' but about this 'unique' program you profiled in your tweet."

They responded"

Thanks for the question and appreciate your interest in the Community Connectors pilot initiative. We recently released the Engagement Summary Report for the draft 30-Year Vision, which is what our social posts were linking to. On page 12 of that report, you can learn more about the Community Connectors pilot initiative. A list of all the groups we connected with through our engagement (including through the Community Connectors pilot initiative) is available in Appendix 1 of the report. Links to both the report and the appendices can be found here: In response to your other question about how we determine historic underrepresentation, we are guided by definitions from UBC’s Equity & Inclusion Office:

I asked for further clarification.

"Thanks for this, the one paragraph summary and the reference to an appendix doesn't really say much. The social media post implied more details than provided - but that's okay, I understand that. However, I would be intersted if there were any differences in what people said, between these 'historically underrepresented' and historically over represented, where there there was any difference within groups as well, etc. Also what was involved in the 'training' and where the trainees historically overrepresented or under? Etc."

They advised they'd bump it up a level and passed it to someone higher up to comment.

Then I got this email from a communications person:

Hi Charles, 


Thanks for the follow-up questions about the Campus Vision 2050 Community Connectors pilot program. We’re happy to share information about this new approach to engagement.


With the Board Secretariat’s protocols for Board member engagement in mind, it would be helpful to understand if you are seeking this information to support your role as a Board member, for your blog or as a curious community member? Once we have this info, we can direct our response appropriately.


Many thanks…

No where did I say I was speaking as a governor - my twitter account is really clear about it being personal and not reviewed by UBC. 

I replied:

"Thank you for answering,


For this inquiry, please provide only information that supports your public statements and/or public documents. 


My initial comment on twitter (which I trust you have reviewed) noted that the public tweet highlighted the community connectors program, but the link connected only to the glossy engagement report with little to no info on the cc pilot.


There was no information, aside from the phrase ‘community connectors’ (that I could easily locate), about what was involved. Nor was there any empirical data that substantiated who might be historically underrepresented and how such folks were being identified.


I share the specific dm’s from twitter below for reference.


I may be interested in writing a story for my online newspaper, A Campus Resident, but at this point in time am simply curious about something that was promo’d without any clear background.



With warm regards,




PS, You will know very clearly if I am asking as a member of the board of governors as I will say so explicitly and I would do so via the board secretariat, not over twitter.


They thanked me for the clarification and said they would prepare a response. Next message I got came from the Board Secretariat explaining the protocols for communication with the administration.

Such is life.

Board protocols coming down

When one is a public academic there are many pitfalls one might encounter. This is compounded by being an elected member of the board of governors. Here is one example. 

As a governor I have continued the sorts of public interventions and inquiries that I have done for years. On my twitter stream I raise questions about university decisions. Sometimes, rather than engage in a public questioning, I send an email or a direct message through what ever social media platform the university was using.

I also have continued a writing project, A Campus Resident, where I make it really clear I am writing a stories for publication. 

Yet it would seem that despite these efforts on  my part some people still are 'confused' by the complexity of who I am and in what role I am in when speaking  with them. 

One of my observations drawn from years of living on campus and working in a university is that non-academic management staff really find it hard to functionally appreciate an intellectual frame of reference where reflections, consideration, questioning, and even challenging is simply part of the process. Not all of them I want to quickly add - but enough of them so that it can make it tiresome and uncomfortable becuase they are the ones who are adept in the procedural plays.

I will thank them just the same. As they help me take better notes, make more clear and explicit what I am doing. In their sensitivities they also reveal fault lines and issues I hadn't realized existed before I sent in my simple question asking for a bit more info about this or that.


        Dear Karen,

Thank you for letting me know that if I have any information requests related to board business to route through you. I have not yet had the opportunity to request any information for board business but am quite happy to hear of your eagerness to support any board related questions I may have.

If any in your circle experiences confusion, please let them know that if I am asking for information in my capacity as a governor I will explicitly say so.

I would also note that I have for close to three decades been a member of my community and have many different and pre-existing relationships that exist outside of being a governor (which is, being a governor that is, quite honestly a very small part of what I do in my life). Clearly being a governor adds nuance, but it is not nor should it be the defining aspect of how I conduct my academic research – of which A Campus Resident is part of. It is a research and intellectual product that is not related to being a governor.

Again, I look forward to sending you information requests that might aid my work as a governor, but until such time as I have any such requests, I will continue in the same manner that I have for going on three decades.

With warm regards,



Saturday, February 18, 2023

Interview with CBC's Daybreak North on Indian Status Cards

On air interview, Thursday, February 16, 2023.

Link to CBC audio clip.

[00:00:25.010] - Carolina

The all native basketball tournament is underway right now in Prince Rupert. But as we found out on yesterday's show, one young woman is being kept off of the court. 19 year old Stacy Edinger is not allowed to play for the old Massett women's team due to her status card number being connected to another village. This in spite of familial ties to Old Massett. Here's her coach, Len Arns, speaking yesterday on the program.


[00:00:51.940] - Len

It seems very unfair, especially for us to be under the status cards when our alaskan brothers don't have status cards. The Nisga don't have status cards, they have membership cards. That doesn't make them any less. It's a card issued by the Canadian government that shows us that this is our Indian number. We're not a name where number that's.


[00:01:18.900] - Carolina

Old Massett basketball coach Len Arns. Now, on the surface, status cards are a form of government issued ID, but their effect on people's lives can be much more significant. I'm joined with more by Charles Menzies, who's a professor at the University of British Columbia and a member of the Gitxaala First Nation. Good morning to you.


[00:01:38.110] - Charles

Good morning. And if you don't mind saying a shout out to all the people up there playing basketball, I wish I could be there in the stand watching it, or maybe one day I'll join the Masters team and play on the court again.


[00:01:49.140] - Carolina

Now, that would be wonderful to see. Charles, I'm sorry that you weren't here to be watching the games, but as you heard, some controversy this year over the idea of status cards, what does a status card represent to you?


[00:02:03.110] - Charles

That's a tough one because it's a recognition of where we're from and all that, but it's also an act of the government as part of a colonial legacy that brands indigenous people as being separate from the rest of society. Yet it also comes with a whole bunch of other recognitions of the government that actually owes us because of the historical legacy. So it's really conflicting and problematic. And of course, sometimes people, when you use the card in a place that you need to, sometimes they respond positively, sometimes they don't respond at all. Sometimes they're just pains in the backside about it.


[00:02:43.300] - Carolina

What's been your experience with using a status card?


[00:02:46.870] - Charles

Well, I think one time I tried to use it to vote in a provincial election. I remember actually going into the Dunbar Community Center and using the card for it, and then the fuss and things. They called somebody over to look at it. Then another person came over and back and forth. After a while, you see there that the line is getting longer and longer and longer, and everyone's kind of staring at you, staring at the card, looking at it, talking to each other. Finally, I just gave up and gave them my driver's license.


[00:03:14.230] - Carolina

And what was that like?


[00:03:16.190] - Charles

It was really unsettling. I didn't actually appreciate just how I'd feel about it. I was really taking aback. But I'll tell you, I haven't used it again for voting in the provincial elections.


[00:03:28.310] - Carolina

And why is that?


[00:03:30.690] - Charles

Because the trouble and the sort of whole nonsense to go through with that process, it's really it's kind of like you think, well, this is a low cost thing to do, but it's the emotional turmoil for doing it. I'll be quite honest, I was quite surprised. But it did remind me of a story my dad told about going to me about trying to get his glasses down here in the lower mainland. And he went into a store and he picked out his glasses and his frames and stuff like that. And then the optometrist said, okay, so how are you going to pay for this? And dad took out his status card, and the guy looked at him and goes, oh, no. And he reached below the countertop, pulled out a box, about half a dozen black frame plastic glasses. You choose one of these. My dad says, there's just no way I'm doing that. And so it's that kind of response to the way these things, how people respond? And I think the Union of BC Indian Chiefs did a study a while ago after the grandfather and his granddaughter were arrested and handcuffed at a bank in downtown Vancouver.


[00:04:38.520] - Charles

They did a study, and about 99% of the people they interviewed experienced some form of discrimination and prejudice for trying to use the card, which is a legal right to be able to use the card.


[00:04:51.340] - Carolina

I recall that report. It came out last fall from the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. But there's another part to this story, too, because in our history, and not very distant history, there were periods where status was withheld or stripped from certain people. So what are the consequences of not having a status number?


[00:05:13.380] - Charles

It gets really complicated back and forth. But one of the difficulties, too, is the whole realm of identity fraud that builds up and around these categories as well. When people I mean, the University of British Columbia just went through a situation with a fairly prominent individual who it turned out had not been honest about who they were and where they came from or any of that. So on one level, when things, when material resources count on these things, you really need to have some kind of documentation and proof about what's going on. At the other hand, there's people whose families have been disconnected and who are, have every right, to be part of the community, but may have lost some connection. And then, of course, not having this little piece of government issued paper, it's a problem. And there is no easy solution except to say communities need to have the authority and power to make these decisions. This is the academic of me coming back saying, but there needs to be protection for minority communities within our communities who might then be disenfranchised because of underlying discrimination internally as well. So there's no good solution for a problem created by a colonial system.


[00:06:28.080] - Carolina

And so how realistic would you say it is for the system to stay the way it is, moving forward, as you say, communities are changing?


[00:06:37.200] - Charles

Yeah, well, I think one of the things it was mentioned in the clip from the Haida coach about the different types of enrollment cards in Alaska or the Nisga citizenship cards. I think we need to move to an idea of membership or citizenship, not idea of this kind of old colonial label 'status.' That at least could be a first step to move in that kind of direction. I mean, and we've only really had the cards in their current variation kind of format since the mid 1950s, even though there was an Indian registry since sometime in the 1850s or 60s.


[00:07:12.780] - Carolina

How much appetite do you think there is to make a change to the status?


[00:07:20.620] - Charles

I think everyone I talk to says there's something should be done, and then when you say, well, then what should we do? People just kind of go, well, they're not sure. And it's almost as though it's better to have something that's bad than something that we don't know what it looks like, but doesn't mean we shouldn't try. I mean, I do think it's time for a change.


[00:07:39.140] - Carolina

I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to me about it today, Charles, and I look forward to seeing you when you're next in Prince rupert.


[00:07:46.260] - Charles

The same. And again, I say a big hello to all family and friends who are up there enjoying the games. And go warriors.


[00:07:55.000] - Carolina

All right. Thanks, professor.


[00:07:56.800] - Charles

Right, bye bye.


[00:07:57.860] - Carolina

Charles Menzies, a professor at the University of British Columbia, also a member of the Gitxaala First Nation. What has your experience been like using a status card? Have you had a negative experience? Maybe you've had a positive experience? You can share your story. Email us at daybreak north at CBC CA. You can also call us on our listener line that number 1-866-340-1932.