Creating a visual representation of this journey I have embarked on was not an easy thing to do. It’s interesting to look back to where I was on the first day I walked into ECCU 400. Coming into this class I would consider the knowledge I had very minimal and experiences were non-existent. When I thought of how I wanted to represent my journey, I decided I would use words and phrases to illustrate the transformation that has taken place over the semester. I chose to use the infinity sign as a symbol of my journey to represent that my Treaty Walk and coming to understand what that means to be a Treaty person is a never-ending journey. This journey will not end here, it will continue on for the rest of my life as I seek to understand and share my knowledge and understanding with my students. By doing so I hope to light a fire of desire within my students to seek to understand and value those we share these Treaty lands with. The colors I have used for this representation are gold and silver. The writing in silver communicates what I came into this journey with, including feelings and prior experiences and learning. The gold represents the feelings, experiences, and understandings that have unfolded this semester. After I finished creating this, it was heart-warming to see that I have indeed grown in many ways over the course of the semester and as I said, this is “ A never ending journey that has just begun”.
Sitting here thinking about the Pipe Ceremony has me feeling inspired and refreshed. I am I awe of the fact that we have individuals in our community that are willing to come into our classes and share their knowledge and experiences with us. Each time I get to participate in a ceremony I leave a with a feeling of respect and inspiration. I can’t help but think about some of the feelings I felt during the ceremony. Sitting there with my peers, who are all on a similar journey. I do recognize that I felt a bit of resistance during the ceremony and I am still trying to figure out where that was coming from. I think part of it was the fear of doing something wrong or being judged by others for messing up. As part of my journey I recognize, that I need to let go of my ego and know that it’s okay to make mistakes.
As I sit and reflect on yesterdays presentation from Sheena’s students, I can’t help but feel inspired and moved. What Sheena has created for her students is so incredible. Listening to each and every one of those boys stand in front of a group of university students and share their stories and their knowledge with us is something to be admired. I found myself feeling emotional during parts of their presentations. There were some powerful words and quotes spoken yesterday that I will never forget. To see these young men taking and stand, learning about their history and sharing their experiences with us was very motivating to me. It reinforces the importance of relationships, knowledge and opportunity. The respect those students have for Sheena is something I dream of having from my students. To see her pride after they were done presenting and how emotional she was honestly inspired me to continue this treaty walk. To further my understanding of treaty issues and reconciliation and to continue to be a part of it. Feeling inspired to carry on and continue to make meaning of these experiences we have been presented with throughout this semester.
It has taken me a while to formulate what I wanted to write in terms of this topic and is one I have spent a lot of time thinking about over the last while. Chelsea first brought the idea of Indigenous people not being proud to be Canadian or not even calling themselves a Canadian. When I first read about this idea I was a little surprised because it is not something I had considered before. Growing up and travelling around to different places, I was always very proud to be Canadian, we’re known for being nice, and polite and helpful. How could I not be proud? as soon as someone knew you were Canadian, they seemed to be double as nice. As I began to reflect on this idea of not being proud, I began to gain an understanding of why one wouldn’t be. I suppose if I had gone through what our Indigenous people had in the past, I don’t know if I would be a proud “Canadian” either.
This idea was reinforced when Russell shared his story about being invited to be apart of Canada’s 150 celebration. At first I was thinking wow, that is pretty darn cool but then he began to share that he didn’t want to be apart of it. He isn’t a proud Canadian and why would he want to be involved in such an event. I then remembered what Chelsea has shared in her reading and I understood.
When I first began my Treaty Walk, I really wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do or where I was going to go with it. I now realize what I want to get out of this experience. I want to learn more about Aboriginal culture. I will do this by participating in ceremonies and experiences over the course of the semester, as well as taking the opportunity to attend the museum to view the Treaty 4 exhibit, and engage in more reading throughout the semester. I believe that as an educator, it is important to have an understanding of the history and Aboriginal culture so that I can teach my students. i realize that this will be a life long journey, but this will be my quest for more knowledge and a deeper understanding.
So I was scrolling through Facebook today and came across a post that absolutely flabbergasted me. I will share some of the post with you here but first I will say this. I understand that everyone is on a different journey of understanding the diversity in our world and understanding one another but it is pretty ballsy to be making some of the following comments I will talk about on social media for all to see. Coming across the ideas and thoughts this individual posted, made me realize that even though I feel like I have a long journey of making sense of and understanding what it means to be a treaty person, it also reaffirmed that I am farther along on my journey than many others.
…..” I haven’t had medical coverage for years…. Of course I still have to pay for the medical coverage for the greasy homeless people who drink stolen listerine and call an ambulance for themselves every night.”
The individual then mentions that one individual estimates that it costs the government 1.2 million dollars a year for 2 people’s medical costs.
The next part the individual talks about is the fact that they get ” blackout drunk, call the ambulance, get a warm bed and a meal and are escorted out when they sober up, only to repeat the cycle”.
As if the crude assumptions weren’t enough, this individual had to post a comment on the post, here is the part that flabbergasted me:
“Residential schools didn’t work lol. They should have been more harsh. They haven’t even stopped the incest rape in the community. We don’t even speak about it. Just let the raping continue and we wonder why Jimmy the cree dude from Stanley mission has an alcohol problem……..”
Wow. I am lost for words, there are so many things wrong with all of what is said, I don’t even know where to begin. If only this individual would take a step back and realize that Residential Schools were indeed harsh enough, and that they are the cause of many of the challenges survivors and their families face. They are dealing with the abuse the best they can and who are you to judge how they are coping.
So narrow minded and so many judgements and assumptions made with such lack of care or understanding of the situation as a whole. So much to learn………
I’ve given myself some time to sit back and reflect on my first Smudge experience with Noel Starblanket and his grandson. I think this experience was a big step in my treaty walk. I was so grateful to be able to experience a Smudge as it is something I have never done before.
Noel talked a lot about many different things but there were a highlights that stand out to me. The first part I want to write about was one of the last things Noel talked about during his time with us. Noel made brought forward the idea of individuals having an awareness of the events and experiences that have taken place over hundreds of years that have negatively affected Indigenous peoples. He used the analogy of a light switch. He talked about how there are so many things that Indigenous peoples have experienced but yet there are many individuals in society who aren’t even aware of what has taken place. As soon as you turn that ” light switch” on, you open yourself up to learn about and try to understand the things they have gone through. It is almost like bringing forth that awareness and desire to learn more. This piece really resonated with me, I feel like until I began university four years ago, my light switch was turned off. Very soon into my degree that switch was turned on and I have learned a lot, but have so much more to learn.
The next part I want to talk about is how Noel talked about women. It was very heartwarming as he was talking about how women are held to such a high regard in his culture. It is such a different view than I am accustomed to. Usually in our society, men are seen as superior and held to a higher regard than women, but Noel talked about how it is the opposite for his culture, it was very empowering. I feel that women truly don’t get the respect and admiration they deserve in society so to hear him talk about women the way he did was very heartwarming for me.
The last part I want to talk about is when Noel was talking about his Residential Schooling. I think that it is hard to truly understand the effects of Residential schools, but Noel tried to get us to see what it would be like for us if the tables were turned. He said what if I took you away to the reserve and made you learn our language and raped you and so on. That was a really emotional moment for me. I cannot imagine being a young child at a Residential school and being raped and feeling so alone and afraid. I really tried to put myself into his shoes during that moment. It was almost as though he was saying, this is what happened to me, now how would you like it?
Overall, it was a very positive experience and I am looking forward to more hands on experiences as I explore myself as a treaty person throughout the semester!
Understanding myself as a Treaty person is something that is very new to me. With that being said, I grew up in Estevan, Sk. where there is not a large population of Indigenous peoples. The idea of myself as a Treaty person is something that I have only been aware of for about 2 years. Therefore, there is alot that I will need to explore over the next little while.
This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.