ECCU 400

miskasowin project

This is my video to share my own miskasowin process and what I have learned as a result of this course.

You can find my video script here: miskâsowin process video script 

You can watch my video below!

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ECCU 400

Canada 150 vs. Resistance 150

Can we celebrate Canada 150 and call ourselves culturally responsive educators?

I think we can!

How we celebrate and what we believe and share makes a difference. We must be mindful of how we got to this point of celebration (and question ourselves if it is worth celebrating). Understanding the history of Canada, the bad and the good, the ugly and beautiful, is all part of understanding “150” years. Yes, you read that right, “150” because Canada is much older than 150 years. When we choose to ignore these situations is when problems arise. Being mindful that Canada’s 150 celebration is harmful and hurtful to people is important. In education we have said this before, by not saying anything you are saying everything. To be a social justice advocate, you have to understand the significance of the 150. Do research on why many are angry with the celebration. Here’s a start.

When referring to my own miskasowin process, I cannot personally be the educator that turns a blind eye. My conscious is unreal. I would feel eternally guilty for doing something or going with something that I felt wasn’t right. So to avoid this, I need to speak up when I know there is injustice. And I know this is something that I have to work on.

I was working on Canada 150, as I have every year on Canada Day. And I specifically remember discussing #Resitance150 with a coworker. I remember this moment because it was one of the first times having this type of conversation with someone who wasn’t in education. I want to keep having these conversations with people. These can go a long way.

ECCU 400

Youth & Justice

After presentation, Indigenous Youth Leadership, we were asked to respond to the following:

How does the role of Indigenous youth in changing policy affect youth around the country? Would this have an impact in your classroom?

I think that youth impacting policy absolutely will influence the country and classroom. When young people speak out and use their voice, it impacts change. We have seen this in recent events with the #NeverAgain movement. When enough youth speak out, it impacts others and spreads like wildfire. Sometimes when young leaders speak out they are silenced and told that they are just “not old enough” and that they “don’t understand”. This is not right to silence them and prevent their voice from being heard. I believe that society is beginning to recognize the importance of letting future leaders try working for justice earlier in life.

If we silence the youth what message does that send? Answer: Not a great one.

This movement and the inclusion of Indigneous youth leaders in the Senate shows me that my voice can also be heard. I have grown up not feeling able to use my voice for Social Justice in fear that I will be silenced or belittled. When I speak against or for something, I feel obliged to know every single detail so I can back myself. Even small methods of action have the ripple effect. Small changes and advances will make a difference, but it may take time.

I want to be able to teach for Social Justice in my future classroom. In order to do this, I need to learn how to model this. I cannot tell students to use their voice and fight for something they believe in when I am still in that process. This may be a lifelong process. And that’s okay, but I must be transparent and share this with my students. Allowing the students to explore their passions and discuss current events is important for allowing and encouraging students to be critical thinkers.

 

ECCU 400

Racism & Me

This week I was asked to share experiences I have had with racism. On a personal level, the answer is none.

As a white woman I have not personally experienced racism. But have I seen racism? Yes. No matter how many times I have seen racism, and how empathetic I am, it does not mean that I will ever know what it feels like.

It is difficult to think of a specific time when I have witnessed racism. In Saskatchewan it is so common and ingrained in society and language. Growing up in a rural area and moving to Regina, I really pushed for myself to become aware of my privilege and forcing myself into the world of social justice.

In my first year of university, during a class we were discussing the issue of Indigenous peoples being followed in stores. I recall one woman very upset because of her daughters similar experience, then having to explain to her daughter about racism and that hard times are ahead. She explained that she fears for her daughters future.

I remember feeling absolutely sick when she shared this, and the unsettled feeling still resonates with me. When the woman shared this story it was like a light bulb turned on, I realized that I will never have to worry about my future children and the inevitable of being followed and being victims of violence. I remember feeling so guilty for this being my reality.

I can use this feeling and foster it into something powerful. I know that I have so much more I can learn, and with my profession I feel empowered and know that I need to enter teaching with a growth mindset. Fostering empathy, understanding, and critical thinking is essential for the classroom.

ECCU 400

What Will I Do?

I’ve been asked this week to discuss what I will do after the Gerald Stanley case. I have been following this case for quite some time, but I have never been comfortable enough to talk about it. With this type of case, it is nearly impossible to stay neutral. From growing up in a rural community to living in Regina and learning about Treaty Education, I can see both sides. But I know which side I need to stand with. As an educator I have to become uncomfortable with my position and work for reconciliation for the future of education and my students.

One of my goals with this is to speak more about uncomfortable topics like these. During class I shared my empathy towards the family of Colten Boushie, as I have grieved before. But this is something I RARELY discuss, let alone in such a vulnerable place with so many people. Hopefully what I shared added to the discussion, but for me it was a huge shock that I found myself sharing about the topic.

I want to keep doing this work. I want to keep being uncomfortable and having these conversations. Even more so, having these conversations and controlling my emotion so I do not become angry and defensive. I want to be prepared for when I go into my own classroom. I want to understand my students and provide a welcoming environment.

In general, I need to challenge myself more and have it be a regular thing. I need to start speaking out.

ECCU 400, ECCU 400

What resonated with me?

I was incredibly intrigued in the Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Children presentation. I have followed the REDress project for quite some time and it always impacts me on a different level. I appreciated the red dresses on the tables and sharing the stories of the different women. It is so important to talk about the women as people with lives and identities instead of numbers and statistics. These women need to be remembered in an honouring way. Too many times we see in court cases or stories of these women, they are labeled and dehumanized. This presentation provides a look into how these issues should be confronted.

I was impressed with the presenters sharing their own privileges and the ideas they shared being based on that. I thought that this showed effort and intention. Overall, the presentation was incredibly respectful.

ECCU 400

4- Treaties and Me

kihci-asotamâtowin; miyo-wîcêhtowin 

This week we discussed Treaties and the differing worldviews that at times cloud the meaning and intent. I was asked to share how I live/teach in the spirit and intent of Treaties. Audrey brought up the point that just saying,”I live on Treaty 4 land, We are all treaty people”, is not good enough. I have always felt the pressure to add “Treaty 4 Land” on my tagline, but I have never been fully comfortable with it. I have never felt comfortable with it because it is such a personal and deep statement, and by me not knowing much about it, I feel like I do a huge injustice. I absolutely need to learn more about Treaty in a deeper level before I even attempt sharing the surface level. With that said, I do involve as much as I know about Treaty and ways of knowing in my teaching practices every day. I tried so in a meaningful way, but always wonder what it looks like from another perspective. During Treaty Ed Camp, Claire Kreuger shared that as long as you’re trying, that is the first and most important thing. If you keep trying and keep learning, using that growth mindset, you can only improve. Going to these valuable professional development days is a step in the right direction.

Although I am working towards learning about Treaty and how it fits with me, does not mean I do not support it. I fully support it. I applaud educators that identify with this and are strong social activists.  It is a goal of mine to understand this knowledge and share it. A point Chelsea Vowel made in Indigenous Writes about the signing of treaties is, “Indigenous peoples have to do this on paper sometimes because that is what is required to survive.” (Vowel, pg. 258). I read this with a lump in my throat and a weight in my stomach. THIS. This is why it is important to teach Treaty. Infuse it in the classroom setting, share the knowledge you have and be an advocate. Signing treaties to survive may have been essential for survival, but children should not have to feel underrepresented to survive in your own classroom. All children bring something to the classroom. And they all should be celebrated.

ECCU 400, ECCU 400

#3- Participation in Pipe Ceremony

This week we participated in a Pipe Ceremony. I have witnessed a pipe ceremony before but was not able to use the pipe. This time around I was, although I chose to acknowledge the pipe. To defend myself, I have hay fever and was worried about how these natural elements would affect my insides. Alma made me feel comfortable and confident in my decision when she stated that she understood different reasons for acknowledging a pipe. I was so worried to offend someone by not smoking the pipe. Throughout the Pipe Ceremony I battled with myself, because I so worried about offending or feeling the need to defend myself. I can transfer this to everyday, as I will come to something that is uncomfortable or I am unsettled, and I need to become aware of why and figure out how to be balanced again.

After reading Chapter 27 of Indigenous Writes by Chelsea Vowel, I felt some clarity on my understanding of treaties. As mentioned before, it helped settle my anxiety of unfamiliarity with something I do not know.  She explains that we should avoid looking to Treaties for explicit and static rules and guidelines (pg.249). Like others I have done this personally, wanting to explicitly teach each rule or promise in Treaty 4 to feel like I rightfully taught Treaty 4. During the pipe ceremony, Alma noted that we cannot do this, because when treaties were written the meaning and promises made in oral communication was lost. This made me realize that I can teach about Treaty 4, but maybe part of the teachings is in part with spirituality. I need to approach this teaching from a holistic and less object-based Eurocentric way. I need to provide my students with experiences that connect to one another, build relationships, before they can come to understand the complexity of Treaties.

ECCU 400, ECCU 400

#2- miskâsowin & tâpwêwin

On the previous post I shared my identity as follows:

  • Mothers side: Scottish, Irish, German, Russian
  • Fathers side: French & English
  • Treaty person
  • Granddaughter
  • Daughter
  • Sister
  • Auntie
  • Girlfriend

Identity is a very personal and evolving element of life. I previously shared that ancestry doesn’t play a part in my identity, but when reading Indigenous Writes I quickly realized that it does play a huge part in my life. In Indigenous Writes, Chelsea Vowel supports being complex with your identity by saying, “For example, I’ve been asked to just say “Canadian,” but Canadian is a category of citizenship and is so general as to be useless when we’re trying to understand the history of this country.” (Vowel, pg.15). For me to not include my ancestry would make my identity very simple. Whether I like it or not, my ancestors came to a land that was new to them, and with that “settler” became attached to me. What is also important with that is since I have this diverse background, it helps build what we understand as Canada today. What is important to me is presenting myself in a positive way that I do not get a negative connotation attached to my settler identity. I was not the one that came to new land, but I can be a difference. I can have settler identity and still decolonize my classroom in a meaningful way.

To extend my identity and make it more complex, I am going to add to my list. Ciswoman, heterosexual and Anglican are all pieces of my identity. Being a heterosexual woman who is cisgender has gave me privilege in my life. This is something that I cannot deny and need to include. I also include Anglican as it is very personal to me, but is absolutely part of my identity.

In the discussion after the Blanket Exercise, a fellow peer mentioned the debate of, “Why does this matter to me?” Her answer was that if you have European descent, the content presented in Treaty Education is almost more important than if you don’t. This really stuck with me. It absolutely makes sense, and is hard to deny. You NEED to know the history of where you live, because it defines you. Everything that has happened in some way has shaped or impacted you. I am still in the process of understanding how this has shaped me, but for now I can say that it has absolutely made me be conscious of myself. I am conscious of how I interpret learning and how I share them in my classroom. This has also made me empathetic. Hearing the personal stories after the Blanket Exercise made me try to imagine the heartache my peers felt in these events. I want to foster those feelings into my teaching practice.

Identity update:

  • Conscious Settler
  1. Mothers side: Scottish, Irish, German, Russian
  2. Fathers side: French & English
  • Treaty person
  • Granddaughter
  • Daughter
  • Sister
  • Auntie
  • Girlfriend
  • Ciswoman
  • Heterosexual
  • Anglican
  • Empathetic
ECCU 400, ECCU 400

1-miskâsowin- Who Am I?

Merriam-Webster defines ancestry as a, “line of descent lineageespecially honorable, noble, or aristocratic descent”. I was asked to explain my ancestry and share my lineage to connect with how I am a Treaty person. 

This task impacted me more than I thought it would. I expected to do this in passing, but something stuck with me.

So here it is:

  • Mother’s birth side: French, German and Scottish
  • Fathers side: French & English

When I shared this with my partner in class I instantly felt troubled. My mom is adopted, and whenever I am asked to share my background I always give my answer tied to blood. I suppose that is the whole point of ancestry. I feel unsettled to automatically side with a set of people that I do not know and have absolutely no ties to. Why is there such a push to identify ancestry? I do not follow any of these cultures in a specific way when it comes to culture or practice. To be honest, I do not even know what those might be. When someone asks about my background, I promptly list off these labels but I do not truly identify with them.

In Indigenous Writes, Chelsea Vowel brings up the point of some Indigenous people not identifying as Canadian. I completely understand this. And I can empathize with the inner reflections or turmoil that this could cause for an individual. Relating to myself, I do identify as a Canadian. I also identify as a Treaty Person. But this is a new addition to my list. I am on my own personal journey about what this might mean and how I make sense of it. Through this class I hope to better understand and develop this part of my identity. To understand it in a better way so I can embrace it. Identity to me is like a working document. It is fluid. Ever changing and developing.

My last question for myself is why do I identify as a treaty person (when my ancestry is not from Canada), yet I identify with my mother’s birth side before my raised grandparents side?

For 21 years I have provided my list like the one above. Here is my updated version of my own identity:

  • Mothers side: Scottish, Irish, German, Russian
  • Fathers side: French & English
  • Treaty person
  • Granddaughter
  • Daughter
  • Sister
  • Auntie
  • Girlfriend