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The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline

The Marrow Thieves is a story by Cherie Dimaline that illustrates a situation where many people, especially Canadians, have lost the ability to dream. As a result, the non-dreaming group is hunting the indigenous people for their bone marrow to benefit from it. Frenchie, a character in the story, is in their hiding place with his brother Mitch waiting for the Truancy agents to pick them up. Mitch and his companions are seen hiding from place to place to escape humiliation by the Canadians. The landscape of North America has been entirely transformed by climate change. Rising seas have eroded the coast, and large lakes have been devastated by pollution and the explosion of oil pipelines. In the novel The Marrow Thieves, Dimaline criticizes the present by highlighting Canada’s relationship with the indigenous peoples and how Canadians treat the environment.

The instances of harassment that the Indians are going through in the novel show that the relationship between the Canadians and the indigenous people is that of a master and a slave. In Canada, indigenous people are treated as commodities and as something less than human. The master, in this case, is the Canadians, while the enslaved people are the indigenous people who are treated as a tool for the profit of the master. The master has therefore dehumanized the indigenous people and made them undergo physical violence and emotional pain at the hands of the whites. In the novel, Dimaline tells of Wab, who was sexually abused and went through physical violence at the hands of the Canadians. From the story, “The scar had tangled itself into raw seam that shut the socket forever” (Dimaline 72). Wab’s scar is a constant reminder of the violence and trauma she experienced for being an Indigenous person. Riri was also subjected to pain by Travis and his companion. From the story, Travis grasped Rir’s neck to the point she could not breathe, her legs kicking in the air and her face turning red. She was struggling to rescue herself from the man, and even when Miig tried to shout that he let Riri free, he pointed a gun to silence her (Dimaline 118). Even when he finally releases Riri, he does not care about her safety in the story; Dimaline says, “The older man bound himself, bending his arm so that RIRi would suddenly fall down. He would have fallen on his face if his arm had not been caught by a vicious angel”, (Dimaline 118).

Dimaline highlights that the Canadians viewed the indigenous as people of low identity, resulting in dehumanizing acts toward the indigenous people. The indigenous people in Canada were ever restless as they had to keep on hiding and migrate from place to place to escape the wrath that they got from the Canadians. In the hands of their master, they were never safe. They had to stay away from where they would not be humiliated by their master; the Canadians. In the novel, Travis rebounds, “Hiding is all. That is what he means. Hiding and pretending you’re not Indian” (Dimaline 114). This illustrates that being an indigenous is something traumatizing, as seen in the instance when the narrator’s group is hiding in the forest.Apart from this, the indigenous people would regard low identity, so there are residential schools specifically for the indigenous. The government wants the indigenous children to be assimilated into the European culture, which is one way of abusing them. The whites want the indigenous people’s bone marrow in that they have lost their dreams, and so the only option to revive their goals is by harvesting the bone marrow from the indigenous people. He states that the indigenous people join their ancestors, hoping they have left enough dreams in the background so that the next generation will stumble across them (Dimaline 82). This is a good illustration that the indigenous people acted like slaves at the sight of the Canadians.

The construction of industries led to the melting of the Northern Territory, affecting the indigenous community. As mentioned in the novel, most of the activities related to industrialization have led to an increase in rainfall(Dimaline 27). The North has melted due to that rain, and hence the water level and constant rain had risen too. As the author put it, “It is strange that the same at a time when rivers were being drained south and east to the significant bidder, the North was melting. As a result, there was a disaster in the whole nation. For instance, rains have caused the North to melt, increasing water level and constant rain. Hence the country suffered a tragedy. The rain is a pandemic that can affect the lives of many people if necessary precautions or measures are not taken into consideration. It led to the dispersal of the indigenous community hence forced to migrate from one place to another in search of a good environment.

The industrialization has only managed to improve life and no other people. In the novel, Dimaline says that the oil spillage has affected the forests and land considerably; therefore, this is a clear representation of how the life of human beings has been negatively affected(Dimaline 54). Through the damage made to the lands, people are not able to do their agricultural activities on the farm, and therefore their life is affected negatively hence poor living standards. Most people rely on the forests and land as a source of income, and therefore, when the areas are involved, it means that they cannot meet all their basic needs hence living a poor life. This means that in the future, the life of many people will be deteriorated due to the industrialization process.

In the novel The Marrow Thieves, the world went through a ravaging due to global warming. Many people have been wiped due to tsunamis and hurricanes due to global warming. In the novel The Marrow Thieves, the few people who escaped death after the storms and tsunamis could not have new dreams(Dimaline 80). In an innovative world emaciated by global warming, many people cannot dream, which has resulted in widespread madness. The environment has to change, and therefore, people should change their mindsets and be ready to adapt to any environmental change to make their life comfortable in this world.

To conclude, the current problems faced by the world are believed to have been caused by the industries built in the past—for instance, the relationship between Canada with the indigenous community. Therefore when an issue is looked at from a Daniel Justice view, the chances of changing our environment are high. Otherwise, our lives will dramatically change how we do things if we think from our old perspectives. By imagining otherwise, a change will be seen in our environment. Perhaps, the atmosphere is how it is because we thought otherwise. This means a change, either good or bad, is brought about by imagining otherwise.

Work Cited

Dimaline, Cherie. The marrow thieves. DCB, 2017.


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