How will you live (& teach) the spirit & intent of Treaties
As an educator, I believe that it is extremely important to live and teach with the spirit and intent of the treaties. There are many ways that this can be done in my own life and in the classroom. For me, the first is recognizing that these two things are not separate. In fact, they are so intertwined that one often forgets that ‘we teach who we are’. Below are the ways that I feel are realistic for me to begin to live and teach the spirit and intent of treaties:
• Recognizing my bias
• Continuing to put the effort into learning more about Indigenous ways of knowing and teaching
• Incorporating Treaty Education through all subject areas
• Incorporating nature into education
• Confronting my uncomfortableness
• Taking time for myself physically and mentally
Although the items mentioned above are great, realistic ways for me to live and teach the spirit and intent of the treaties, it is important for me to remember the words of Chelsea Vowel:
• Treaties should be look at as a relationship; they must be renewed with constant care, negotiation, and openness to change
• It is important to remember the principles and heart of kaswentha: Mutual respect, peaceful co-existence and non-interference
• It is important to remember that treaties are more than the European view of just being on paper
• Treaties became a way to open up land for settlers
• Treaties are ongoing : “As long as the sun shines, the rivers flow and grass grows”
Last week our class participated in a pipe ceremony. I was very excited to attend and learn more about Ingenious traditions and ceremonies. As luck would have it, I woke up that morning on my period. At first I felt very frustrated. My period was late; which meant I wasn’t expecting it to interfere with going to the pipe ceremony. On the other hand, I remembered that my ‘moon time’ is supposed to be seen as a gift and not a punishment. So, instead of feeling down on what I was missing I tried to look at what I was gaining. I took the gift on being on my ‘moon time’ and went back to bed. I slept in later than I would have, relaxed after waking up and took my time getting ready for school. When I arrived at class late, I wondered how it looked walking in. Did anyone notice that I was late? Did they think to themselves “oh, she must be on her ‘moon time’”. It’s this reflection that I think is so important. Western culture often shuns women for being on their period. It is seen as a time of the month that shouldn’t be talked about. However, in Indigenous Culture, this time is celebrated. Women are seen as so powerful that they can’t be in the same place as another ceremony going on.
In closing, I would like say how Western culture should continue to look at how Indigenous Culture celebrates the women in their lives…Western culture could learn a thing or two.
miskâsowin assignment; Prompt (as suggested during class) – Practice naming yourself & making your identities complex. Use the readings (Vowel) to help. What does the Blanket Exercise experience offer to you in terms of your miskâsowin process? How does it help towards tâpwêwin [TA-pway-win] – speaking the truth with precision and accuracy?
In my last post I began to look at myself in many different ways. I am English, Scottish, Norwegian and Canadian. I also started to identify myself by claiming who I am. I am a female, cis gender daughter, sister and girlfriend. By learning to claim who I am I start to wonder how I identify subconsciously to other people. Do they see a female, cis gender, daughter, sister, and girlfriend? Most likely, something less complex. I think Vowel says its best when discussing naming about how the “intention is not to simplify, but rather make people more aware of how complex and sometimes, confusing names can be”. If I were tell my mom that I was cis gender, she wouldn’t understand what I was talking about unless I explained it.
When I reflect on the Blanket Exercise I often am very focused on the past and present effects of colonialism. The mistakes that we made as a society and the hope for recognition has always been my main thoughts. However, now I am focused on how informative the blanket exercise can be in naming. The roughness of the facilitator using the word Indian and how that word changes to Indigenous peoples through the first person stories. Vowel has taught me just how important that ‘s’ is when naming; the fight that has gone into that ‘s’.
I know that I still have a long way to go in speaking my own truth. With speaking my own truth I think it is important that I also try very hard to correctly speak the truths of others.
miskâsowin [mis-SKAA-soo-win]- Finding one’s sense of origin & belonging; Finding ‘one’s self’ or Finding ‘one’s center’
I’ve always somewhat hated the question ‘who are you’, ‘where does your family come from’? Simply, because I don’t know a lot about my family’s history.
My dad never knew his grandparents, as his dad’s father passed away while my grandpa was still very young. The only information that my dad knows about his dad’s side is his grandfather’s name and the fact that he was 7 feet tall. My dad’s mom on the other hand has a bit more information. My grandma’s maiden name is McLaren; which is Scottish. I have seen the McLaren homestead near my hometown and that is the extent of my knowledge.
My mom’s side of the family has similar, limited information. My grandpa’s mom, travelled to Canada from England. Her and her family then settled near a town close to my hometown. As for my grandma my knowledge on our Norwegian ancestry is only the fact that we eat lefse at Christmas and my uncle likes to proudly joke that “we are Vikings, strong people”.
Now, that I have rambled about the extent of my knowledge on my family’s history, I reflect on ‘who am I’, ‘What am I’? I continue to wonder why this question is important, is my answer ‘I am Canadian’ not good enough? So instead of answering ‘I am Scottish, English and Norwegian’ I am going to instead answer that I am Canadian. I grew up on treaty 6 land but have since moved to treaty 4. I identify as cis gender and am a daughter, sister, friend and girlfriend. These are things that I think define me now more than where my ancestors come from (not to say that they do not play a role in who I am, but that the other is more important in my life right now).
I end this post with a question:
Why do we as a society continue to place so much emphasis on where people are from, instead of the people themselves?