Week 8 Blog Post

November 1, 2021 2 By Gledi Toci

During fall semester several years ago, Dr. Mike Cappello received an email from an intern asking for help. Here’s part of it: “As part of my classes for my three week block I have picked up a Social Studies 30 course. This past week we have been discussing the concept of standard of living and looking at the different standards across Canada. I tried to introduce this concept from the perspective of the First Nations people of Canada and my class was very confused about the topic and in many cases made some racist remarks. I have tried to reintroduce the concept but they continue to treat it as a joke. The teachers at this school are very lax on the topic of Treaty Education as well as First Nations ways of knowing. I have asked my Coop for advice on Treaty Education and she told me that she does not see the purpose of teaching it at this school because there are no First Nations students. I was wondering if you would have any ideas of how to approach this topic with my class or if you would have any resources to recommend.”

Indigenous people have been put aside in education and history for a long time now. Their perspective and impact on history have always been forgotten and discriminated, only causing more grief for the Indigenous people. Therefore, we as future teachers need to be able to implement Indigenous perspectives and issues within classrooms no matter the racial group we are teaching to. As Claire mentioned it is just as important to teach about Indigenous people to non-Indigenous people as it is to teach Indigneous people about Indigenous perspective/culture. This should be a step in the right direction to help stop the constant racism Indigenous people experience.

We as teachers need to find ways to implement Indigenous knowing in classrooms considering we are all treaty people. To approach such topic we need to be able to put ourselves in their shoes and understand. Claire took the approach of realting by having adopted Indigenous children, understanding their suffering. She mentioned how Indigenous people “just wanted treated fairly” by classmates and others. Consdiering Indigenous children are often asked “who are you?” or “are you Mexican?”, which only makes them think they are not important. We as eductors much like Claire, need to acknowledge the land and Indigenous people, and share it upon our students since “We are all Treaty people”. Cynthia Chambers supports this when stating that “we show our children what to believe and how to believe it when they are very young”. This is the impact teachers have, we need to be able to change the negative perspective commonly found in education but become more inclusive and really learn about one another. Similarly to how Dwayne Donald believes that “education is stuck in the past”.

Being said, we as teachers have it in our hands to further improve education and make it socially easier for all students. The common racial discrimination comes from the absence of knowledge of those certain cultures, and something that must change. We need to be more inclusive, and teach about Indigenous people to a non-Indigenou classroom, and the effect racism and discrimination could have on one another in everyday basis.