The New York Times on Friday January 23 chose “aboriginal” as its Word of the Day, and used Canada—Winnipeg, to be exact—as its example.
“The word aboriginal has appeared in 88 New York Times articles in the past year, including on July 24 in 'What’s Behind Canada’s Troubled Relationship With Its Aboriginal Peoples' by Jake Flanagin,” the newspaper said.
It proceeded to quote the story, which involves Winnipeg, recently flagged by the influential Canadian newsweekly Maclean’s as the country’s most racist city, despite—or perhaps because of—its large indigenous population.
“They call it ‘Murderpeg,’ ” Flanagin wrote. “With 6,222 instances of violent crime reported in 2012, the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba consistently ranks among the most violent cities in Canada.
“It’s also host to one of the highest concentrations of Aboriginal peoples (indigenous North Americans) in the country—11.7 percent and growing faster than any other area in Canada, according to the Canadian National Household Survey.”
This is similar talk to what appeared in a cover story of Maclean’s that hit newsstands on January 22. Calling Winnipeg “Canada’s Most Racist City,” it compared the Manitoba capital’s race issues with its aboriginal population to race relations in the U.S.
Who knows whether the cover story and extensive report in Maclean’s had any influence on the selection of this word by The New York Times’s initiative called The Learning Network. Either way, the full article from July is worth a read, as are the stories in Maclean’s, if one wants to understand the ways that race relations differ in Canada and the United States.