This semester (Winter 2020), I was required to take ECCU 400 as part of my degree in Education at the University of Regina. When I first heard that the university was changing some of the courses and that I would be required to participate in this new ECCU 400 course instead of a typical ECS course, I was nervous for participating in ECCU 400. I knew signing up for this course that it would likely still have some kinks in it as it was just revamped and redeveloped to ensure that student-teachers were being taught more about reconciliation and how to implement that into our future classrooms.
Knowing that the ECCU 400 course is a newly developed course, I felt nervous entering the course. I have participated in some classes that focus on educating people about truth and reconciliation and about Indigenous cultures in Canada, but I have left many of them still questioning how I can actually meaningfully include Treaty Education in the classroom. Despite being nervous about entering this course, I was also excited to learn more about Treaty Education and how I can implement Treaty Education in my future classroom.
Although I was excited to learn more about Treaty Education and more on the history of the Indigenous People of Canada, I was afraid to learn of the dark past and history that I know Canada has. Many times when I learn about issues surrounding Indigenous People in Canada or about Reconciliation, I get the feeling that white people are often being attacked for the actions of our ancestors, which I know it not something that is meant to come across. I believe, that as a white person, I have receive undeserving privilege due to the colour of my skin and social status. I find it uncomfortable when I get grouped together with other people that have the same colour of skin as myself but have done unspeakable things. As I sit here and reflect on the feeling of being attacked simply for the colour of my skin, I know that I am getting a small sliver of the feelings that many Indigenous People of Canada and People of Colour everywhere feel with the systemic racism and blatant racism that they face every day.
As a white settler living in Canada, I have grown up with the idea that all people are treated equally, but white people did make some horrible decisions in the past. Now, as I get older and begin to learn more about Canada’s history I have learnt that not all people are treated equally in Canada. There is still plenty of racism that plagues Canada and the communities within it. There is still mistreatment of Indigenous People and People of Colour in Canada. There are still issues of giving people the basic necessities of living, such as clean drinking water, on reserves in Canada.
Entering into ECCU 400, I was nervous and I was afraid to learn about all of the mistreatments that Indigenous People in Canada have faced and continue to face. I know that I was afraid to learn about these topics because it is easier to be ignorant to the issues that are part of the world when they do not directly affect me or when I do not know about them. As a white settler, I believe that one of the ways that I can take part in reconciliation is to step up and learn more about the injustice that Indigenous People in Canada have faced in the past and the injustices that they continue to face. As a white settler, I can advocate for Indigenous People of Canada by starting to facilitate discussions with my peers and family members that might not know both sides of the story.
Overall, I entered into ECCU 400 with many fears about what I would learn and how I would feel about the issues that would be brought up. Despite my fears, I am thankful that I was able to participate in ECCU 400. It has opened my eyes to some injustices that I had never heard about previously and it has also shown me many new resources that I can use as a future educator. One of the resources that I was able to use in the class was the website called 4 Seasons of Reconciliation, which opened my eyes up to the third world conditions of life on some reserves and the significance of a Wampum Belt (something that I had never heard about prior to this experience). As a future educator it is important to learn more about the treaties that have been signed in Canada and that are still living documents today as well as the history of Indigenous People in Canada and the injustices they have faced and still face today. There is not one way to implement Treaty Education in the classroom. Instead, each teacher must take the time and educate their students about Indigenous ways of knowing and the Treaties that are still part of Canada today.
Thank you for reading my blog post!
My 4 Seasons of Reconciliation certificate: