George Ryga: Conflict of Culture

An examination of George Ryga’s play’s social messages on the cultural conflict in Canada.

This paper analyzes how George Ryga shatters the perception of ‘equality’ between whites and Natives through his plays’ symbolic illusions. The paper discusses how Ryga portrays the Native as the ‘other’ and highlights the conflict between the cultures in a ‘white’ dominant society. The paper shows how through a sympathetic portrayal, the society becomes a mythical illusion between the truth and the ‘accepted truth.’
The concept of superiority and the perception of the ‘other’ in society are shown symbolically in the plays of Ryga. When the white nation came to the shores of Canada they found the aboriginals living there mostly in a seemingly ‘uncivilized’ way. The Aboriginals had no concept of property in the ‘legal’ sense and worshipped nature as being the most superior force. Their religion was based on nature and their concepts of life too, arose from the same. This tendency was seen with disdain by the white’ people who came to Canada and so they were taken to be ‘savages’ and thus, they were discriminated against and displaced from their territories and their natural culture changed to form a new nation which the Aboriginals have yet to reconcile too. Amidst conflicts the Aboriginals were displaced causing them to lose their identity and their way of life until finally, their numbers depreciated to negligible in face of the white majority and from a nation of nature worshippers they were forced to live in industrial environments.

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