After creating and working on this assignment, my views on reconciliation has really changed and molded into something new. I would like to sit here and say that I’m super upset about this country’s past and that I’m very ashamed of it. However, while thinking about how to start this, doing this project has more inspired me instead of made me angry. I will touch on my report and connotations towards reconciliation in this paper. I would first like to mention, that after doing all this research, that the very first step to reconciliation is to bring light to the situation at hand. We need to bring to light these issues that our country had in our past and we still experience to this day. Us as a society don’t have to pretend that we are blind to these topics. All that is doing is prolonging a resolution to these issues. Moving forward, we need to hold rallies, bring in Aboriginal culture, and make light of different norms of different cultures because, honestly, we have so much we can learn from different cultures.
My aesthetic presentation was very hard for me. Throughout my who school lifecycle so far, I have been very good at writing papers and taking tests. However, I am not a very creative person, so it was hard for me to pick something to you. I finally decided it’s not about how it looks, it’s more about the message it is sending. So, I made a poster with a few pictures from some very non-pleasant residential schools across the country. I also put different words that people who have survived residential schools have said about them. The whole point of my poster is to show how bad that these schools were. The red lettering on my poster are all negative words describing these schools and the green lettering is more positive statements Simply put, there are way more red words rather than green words, and the green words aren’t even that positive. The blue lettering, I put on my poster are all longer quotes that describe their experience with these schools. One really unique thing about my quotes is that I actually went to the Ochapowace First Nation and talked to several elders there. I have played hockey with many Aboriginal people my age in the past and I got them to put me in contact with these elders. It was a super eye-opening experience for me because when these people were telling me their stories, they were shaken right to their core. Many of them didn’t even want to talk about it but they seemed really eager to pass on their knowledge and experiences to someone from outside their reservation. These interviews made me actually want to go out and make a difference in our society, whether it be on a small or large scale.
Moving onto how this project has affected me as a teacher and my future classroom. Before I did my research and interviews for my poster, I always had the mindset to make my classroom very welcoming to all people no matter what. I planned to do many cultural based activities that are not white privilege events. For example, my mom is a teacher and she decorated her room with many different cultural artifacts and posters, so I planned to do things like that. I now feel like I need to take this and go a step further. Looking forward, I want to bring in many guest speakers from many different races to talk about their ethnicities and their stories growing up. I also want to do things like round dances and bring in speakers to talk about these issues. I was actually inspired to do this because of a different class. In one of my other classes this semester, we had a First Nations man who is also a teacher to come in and talk to us. He mentioned that he tries to do specific things related to everyone in his classroom. He celebrated Chinese New Year the last few years and he even took his class out to hunt and trap to inform them how most First Nations people grew up. To me, that would have been such a cool experience and I wish I got to do things like that when I was younger. Obviously, I would be doing these things to benefit my future kids in my classroom. Kids learn in different ways and that is something we have to understand that. Our guest speaker actually said he did this hunting/gathering lesson in order to help the kids with their math. He did this by getting the kids to calculate how far the bait needed to be from the traps and how far each trap had to be from one another. This allows the kids to have some fun while doing their math which, in turn, leads to the kids retaining more information!
Invitation and hospitality is also a huge part in the classroom today. To put it simply, a student cannot learn if they aren’t treated the way a kid should be treated and if they aren’t being treated fairly. “There is nothing new in the idea that teachers have more success with their students when they create an inviting atmosphere in the classroom.” (Martin, 2019)I know for a fact that if I feel that I am not being treated fairly and I don’t enjoy what I’m doing, I’m not going to learn or retain anything at all. I speak of this because I have experienced that when I attended the University of Saskatoon a few years ago. Not to mention if you were being beaten if you didn’t learn what you were supposed to, I don’t want to even imagine how that could have been and it just makes me so sick. Being an inviting teacher will bring the best out of yourself as well as the students that you are teaching. I also believe a lot of how everyone in society is affected, is by the environment they are exposed too. Take myself as an example. I went to a completely white school and basically learned nothing about other cultures. This is a sad thought because it has made my worldview so narrow and concentrated on one aspect in life, that being white worldviews.
To finish out, I’d like to touch on what I’ve learned and how I plan to be part of the solution in my future not only as a teacher, but as a part of society. Like I’ve mentioned previously, I have learned so much about what these Aboriginal People and their stories about what they have went through. I’ll tell you one thing, I wouldn’t wish those experiences on my worst enemy because those experiences sound just awful. I feel it is now my job to try and bring to light these actions so we as a society can try to work towards reconciliation. I have actually tried to start making a difference in my town that grew up in. After talking to my hockey friends and the elders from the Ochapowace First Nation I have tried my best to get them to come to my hometown of Moosomin to do a round dance! Pieces are still being moved around but it seems like we are likely going to make this happen. I’m excited and I hope that when this event is being held, lots of people come to experience a culture other than their own!
Alam, H. (2017, March 8). Tory senator says ‘good deeds’ of residential schools were overshadowed. Retrieved from The Star: https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/03/08/tory-senator-says-good-deeds-of-residential-schools-were-overshadowed.html
Martin, F. P.-I. (2019). A relational approach to decolonizing education: working with the concepts of invitation and hospitality. Retrieved from University of Regina Faculty of Education: https://urcourses.uregina.ca/pluginfile.php/1876621/mod_resource/content/2/ECS%20100%20Invitation%20and%20hospitality.pdf
Martin, F. P.-I. (2019). A relational approach to decolonizing education: working with the concepts of space, place and boundaries. Retrieved from University of Regina Faculty of Education : https://urcourses.uregina.ca/pluginfile.php/1875779/mod_resource/content/4/ECS%20100%20Space%2C%20place%20and%20boundaries%20final%207%20Sept.pdf
Minksy, A. (2015, June 2). In their words: What residential school survivors told the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Retrieved from Global News: https://globalnews.ca/news/2031617/in-their-words-what-residential-school-survivors-told-the-truth-and-reconciliation-commission/