Journey Towards Reconciliation

In South Korea, we never learned about Indigenous history. I never had proper knowledge of Indigenous history until high school. My high school had an English teacher who was taken to a Residential school, and she would often tell us stories about her experiences. I am grateful and lucky that she talked about her experiences because every time she would talk about it, she teared up and often cried. Instead of learning through books and videos, we had the opportunity to learn through real teachings of Indigenous people, such as story telling, drumming, and singing. I think it is important that students learn from Elders and guest speakers through the traditional way of learning rather than simply reading articles.

I have a responsibility as someone who is now living in Canada and as a visitor to work towards reconciliation. Although I cannot make physical changes to the traumas Indigenous people bear, I can still educate others who may not know much about the injustices and exclusion the Indigenous people face to this day.

I never understood and learned about the constant struggle Indigenous People still experience today, that Indigenous People face systemic injustice to this day. This is something I have never learned or even heard about, and I am glad that this class has opened my eyes to it. Although the Canadian government claims to reconcile and give financial benefits to Indigenous People, the education system is set up to fail Indigenous students: “it will take 28 years for First Nations children to catch up to the Canadian average” (Battiste, p. 2, 2013). This data shows the clear evidence of injustices that Indigenous students face in the education system— what is the “Canadian average” really referring to? It refers to the Eurocentric standard which neglects education of and for Indigenous People. This leads to a common stereotype that all Indigenous People are alcoholics— Indigenous People don’t choose to separate themselves from the community, the government failed to incorporate and adapt to the different ways the Indigenous People learn. Many Indigenous parents choose not to send their children to public schools not because they don’t believe that education is important, but because schools and classrooms are designed to exclude the needs of Indigenous students, just like Residential schools.