My miskâsowin Journey

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Below is a video of my miskâsowin journey. I had many tech. issues with this assignment, so in the end I had to work with what my computer would upload. Sadly, there is more text than I would have liked but had no choice.

Hope you enjoy!

 

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ReconciliACTION!

On Monday we hosted our ReconciliACTION event. Going into the event, I wondered how many people would stop and take part in conversations about the event. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how many people stopped at our station and dived into the conversation with us- as well as how many people shared personal stories. I participated in the métis Identity and homelands station. While preparing for the event I learned more about métis peoples. One of the biggest things that I learned was about the difference between métis and Métis; and how the métis community describes themselves.

Before the event I felt extremely pleased with our visual and everything that it represented. As the day went on, and through conversations that I had I realized the things that I had missed in the visual or things that may be misinterpreted. I quickly took these conversations to heart and added what we had missed into our visual. It was important to me throughout the day to reference that I was of settler background and not métis. I was in fact only trying to be an ally through this visual and event and not claiming that I knew everything. I often thought to myself that an ally walks beside- never behind and never in front.

I am extremely proud of the event that our class hosted and all of the thoughtfulness and meaningfulness that went into the event. The experiences that I gained from the event were truly authentic and one of my best university experiences.

One of my favourite experiences throughout the day was when a métis woman (she told us her personal story) asked us to take a picture with her in front of our visual. She thanked us for taking the time to include this station in our event, and for the event itself. It meant a lot to us that she took the time to share her story with us and that she explained how thankful she was for the event. Her compliment made me feel really connected to her and her family.

Fort Qu’Appelle.

This past weekend we had a field trip to Fort Qu’Appelle. As I left my apartment that morning, I felt excited for the day but also very nervous about the drive. I have become very leery about driving on bad winter roads in the last year. However, I put my trust in the bus driver and tried not to worry as we began our journey. At the end of the day I was glad that I pushed through my nerves and went on the trip.

The trip itself was great. My day started off at the museum. I really enjoyed the museum and all that it had to offer. I liked that I got the opportunity to look through the museum on my own, but that there was also someone there to answer any questions that I had. From here, I went on the treaty walk. I found that the treaty walk was really informative. It also made me feel really connected to the environment around me. After the treaty walk, we all went for lunch. I enjoyed spending lunch as a class, sharing stories of our day and food. Lunch also gave us the opportunity to spend some time in the school, specifically in Sheena’s classroom. I loved Sheena’s classroom! It made me see that flexible seating is possible. It also made me see that one can lessen the power structure between teacher and students by creating a family type environment.

After lunch, we ventured to Lebret. This is the part of the field trip that I was most excited for. As we gathered in a circle on the grounds of the old Residential School I felt myself fully aware of where we were standing. I wanted to emotionally fully take in where we were. As Wendell began talking, I found myself capitated by every word that he said. There were a few times where I struggled to hear what he was saying, but still found myself very grounded in the moment. At the end of the visit I really appreciated taking the time to thank the earth and the spirits for us being there. I also appreciated Wendel asking each of us where our family originates from. I found this a really great way for us to acknowledge our settler background. As we let Lebret I took in the scenery around me (the very large church and the crosses on the hills) and reflected on what these represented in the area.

We ended our day at the governance center. I found this a fantastic way to end our day. It grounded me in the moment to sit with my classmates in such a special place. I loved hearing what everyone took away from the day. I also really appreciated Evelyn taking the time to explain what the day meant to her. While she began to talk about her dad and the Residential school I found myself entranced in what she was saying. I cannot express how appreciative I was that she spent the day with us!

Is it really 150 years?

This week, the question posed by one of the seminars groups was “should we be celebrating 150 years of Canada”?

I struggle with this question as I believe there are two sides.

The first side, is absolutely we should celebrate Canada day.

The second side, agrees in celebrating Canada day but disagrees with celebrating 150 years of Canada.

What does the 150 years mean? To many it means 150 years as a country. To others, it means 150 years of colonization. I want to emphasize my use of the word other. For 150 years Canada has used colonization as a way to force Indigenous peoples into the role of ‘other’.

We celebrate that Canada has been a country for 150 years; but what does that say for the people who lived here before then? It is important that we are reminded as a country that we settled here with the help of the Indigenous peoples who were already living here.

So, here is where I am sitting at the moment:

Being realistic, I believe that we will always celebrate Canada day. Our nationalism is too strong not to. However, let’s celebrate the truth. Let’s not include a number of years within our celebration. Let’s celebrate the relationships that got us, as a country to where we are today. Let’s recognize that we as settlers would not have been able to survive in the beginning without Indigenous peoples and their help.

Let’s celebrate Canada for what it really is; built on the relationships with the spirit and intent of the treaties in mind.

White Supremacy

This week, my group and I presented on white supremacy. For a large part of our presentation we continually referred to the example of a band aid. Band aids are typically made for white skin colours. We found that this example was easy for our classmates to connect with, however by continually referring to this example I think that it lessoned the impact of our presentation. It seemed to take away from the larger issues surrounding white supremacy that we often shy away from talking about- as we subconsciously did in our presentation by continually referring to band aids.

During our presentation I took a moment to try and express my own experience with white supremacy; specifically surrounding the Stanley case. I explained to my classmates how I am beginning to see white supremacy and how it directly relates to me. If I chose to, I could completely ignore the Stanley case. If I chose to, I could think that the Stanley case doesn’t affect me. But, by choosing to not speak out about the case and similar issues- it is saying that I agree. This is one of the largest factors that contribute to white supremacy.

 Slowly, I learning to speak out. Slowly, I am learning that to speak out doesn’t mean that I am disrespecting my friends and family. Slowly, I am learning that speaking out doesn’t mean that I have to argue with people. Slowly, I am learning…

Intergenerational Trauma

Intergeneration Trauma from Residential Schools is still very evident in today’s society. As a white settler I can choose whether this affects me or not. However, this is not the reality of many Indigenous peoples. Growing up, I often heard the stereo types: First Nations people are alcoholics, drug addicts, and terrible parents, have mental health issues and can’t hold a job. It is these stereo types that continue to aid the racism in society. However, no one ever wonders why they stereo types exist?  No one ever questions why many First Nations people turn to coping mechanisms such as alcohol and drugs. No one questions how hard it is to parent when you never had parents yourself- or the fact that you were traumatically pulled apart from your family. No one questions the mental health issues from being abused physically, mentally and sexually. If one were to question at least one of these, it may answer the stereo type of why it is difficult to hold down a job- or more importantly how many racist attitudes form. 

I know that it is important to educate myself on these topics and to bring these topics into my everyday life and classroom. It is only through education that I can realize my own bias and prevent future bias’s from forming.

The Stanley Trial

Where to begin? I have listened to countless conversations where I struggle to find the words about the injustice of Colten’s case. I have sat around a table of my closest friends parents and their friends and listened to them defend the not guilty verdict of Gerald Stanley. During this moment I sat, quietly becoming angry at myself because I couldn’t find the words to defend my own opinion. I struggle through these moments as I know that I should offer an opinion, because saying nothing is saying you agree, but find it difficult out of respect for these people who have been second sets of parents to myself.

As I continue to learn to speak out for what I believe in, I am reminded of the importance of speaking out through Colton’s case. I was heart-broken by the verdict and the step backward it is in society. I also continued to wonder what I would say to my students if I was teaching at the moment. How would I approach such a sensitive topic? How would I tell their parents why I was approaching this topic?

The only thing that I know for sure is that it is crucial to struggle through these uncomfortable moments, to find people who support what you believe and continue to educate students and others. It is only through education that we can promote the change we need in society.