Every summer I scour my PLN for an online course or a book study to participate in to support my planning for the following year or to enhance my knowledge of Social Justice issues. Over the years I have been drawn to issues regarding the relationship between the indigenous people on Turtle Island and the colonizers and Canadians. I have done some cultural competency training with my school board as well as personal learning and reading about the subject.
Over the last few years, I have discussed residential schools with my students and done Inquiry Based Learning with my students based on “Fatty Legs”by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton which included a series of questions about the relationship between indigenous peoples and the colonizers. The unfairness and cruelty just shook me to the core. I love Canada, and I think it is the best country in the world, but the Government treatment of indigenous people is a huge stain on our homeland. I think the thing that got to me the most is that not only were the indigenous population taught that they were less than human, we (the non-indigenous population) were taught that they were as well. That just blew me away. I feel like we were part of this conspiracy. This concept is so deeply embedded in our psyche that it takes so much rethinking to have any empathy with indigenous people in our country.
I am fascinated that the new curriculum in BC has indigenous teachings embedded. Part of my initial Pro-D in the Comox Valley is this very topic. So exciting.
In reading the first chapter of “Seven Fallen Feathers” , I was alarmed by how numb and unsurprised that I was by the treatment of the Indigenous people whose stories are told in this non-fiction text. I was surprised by how the communities banded together to conduct the search for Jordan when the police did not put the effort in. This emphasizes how much I still need to learn. I am looking forward to continuing this discussion with the other members of the voicED radio Summer Book Club. I think it is the obligation of every Canadian educator, every Canadian really, to gain an understanding of real relationship between the indigenous peoples and the colonizers and how the Canadian government has manipulated that relationship.
See you soon, Ms Green