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Social Justice and Community Engagement


For many Indigenous communities throughout the province of Ontario on Turtle Island, maple syrup (MS) practices are culturally and spiritually significant; however, since the arrival of European settlers, these MS practices have substantially declined. This research utilizes the decline of maple syrup practices and related Indigenous Knowledge (IK) as a case study to exemplify the damaging impacts colonialism has had on the culture of Indigenous peoples living within Ontario. Over a period of two months, I spoke with seven Indigenous individuals throughout Ontario about their experiences and opinions regarding the relationship between colonialism and MS practices. Accordingly, colonialism has impacted and contributed to the decline in MS practices and IK in two main interlocking ways: 1) direct colonial acts, such as residential schools, the Indian Act and the introduction of reserves; and 2) the continuing impacts of colonial processes, including settler colonialism, effects of capitalism, health ramifications and the colonized mind. However, as will be outlined in this paper, even in the face of this adversity caused by colonialism, all seven participants of this research are optimistic about the resurgence of MS practices by Indigenous populations.


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