Travelling through Saskatchewan, our route took us along a highway that intersections with several “Indian Reservations”. In Saskatchewan the highway signs indicated “Entering Indian Reservation” and “Leaving Indian Reservation”. When we saw these signs, we both cringed at the terminology. Words are very powerful things, and the language used seemed rather offensive to us.
Prior to riding this section of highway, we had been warned about the road ahead. A kind person mentioned that all the stores in the area had bars on the window and warned us that it would not be safe for us to camp anywhere on the side of the road because it was Indian land. Riding through, we never felt uncomfortable or really all that different from riding anywhere else in Saskatchewan. Someone even pulled over while we were stopped to help ensure we were OK. So, we wonder at the power of language and if the use of the term “Indian Reservation” just reinforces stereotypes.
We wondered what alternative wording would feel more appropriate, and we saw it riding in Ontario – there was a sign announcing a “First Nation”. That certainly seems to be more politically correct, but also just feels better to us.