Is ‘Indian time’ a real thing? Time to weigh in

Is ‘Indian time’ a real thing?

(On Thursday, Québec’s Indigenous Affairs Minister Geoffrey Kelly used ‘Indian time’ when asked why it took 8 years to write a piece of legislation. The term wasn’t received well.)

Bruce Spence
Special to APTN National News
Every once in a while the phrase “Indian Time” rears its ugly head in discussions around the clean water coolers of modern day work places. Except in Aboriginal organizations. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

For those of you who’ve never heard it, Indian Time means….in the vernacular of construction company foremen from bygone eras…. those damned Indians are always late.

Just saying, that’s what it meant in my world.

Kind of a racist thing to say though when it’s a human foible present in every people and culture the world over.

How ignorant is it to attach the colloquialism to an entire people when there are individuals in every race in every country who couldn’t be on time for their own funerals if their life depended on it. I am one of those by the way.

One of my best friends and mentors, an ex-military Saulteaux guy from Pine Creek, hated to be late and he never was. 10 minutes early was too late for him.

As someone younger and wiser than me pointed out, we never had clocks. Didn’t need them. Winter has been coming around

Winter has been coming around year in and year out around the same time since time immemorial.

Same with spring, summer and autumn.

So are the solstices, just in time for winter (or spring, or summer or fall) like clockwork.

Those wild rice lakes were and still are ready for picking every September.

Bottom line is, IT doesn’t exist.”

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Bruce Spence is the lineup editor for APTN National News. He is based in Winnipeg. 


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