Education News Fall2015/Winter 2016 - Page 7

It is an entire hands-on experience in which students are engaged mentally , physically , emotionally , and spiritually .
how Treaty relationships throughout Canadian history have shaped Canada today as well as acknowledge their roles as Treaty people . Whether class project or an individual work of art , writing , dance , or music , the results have been extraordinary . Not only have the students displayed internalization of knowledge , but also , as an educator , I have learned so much about Canadian history as a result of this simulation . The students have humbled me with their ability to become so completely passionate about history , moving learning far beyond the walls of the classroom !”
Kim graduated from the U of R , with a B . Ed . degree in 2001 , with a major in Social Studies , and minor in Physical Education . In the program at that time , Kim says her experience was that , “ the conversation around the impacts of colonization and Treaty relationships were totally absent .” She views this absence as reflecting a “ systemic amnesia ” that has existed in our society in regards to our shared history and the overall resistance to learning about it . What she is now learning about Indigenous history , along with her students , allows her , “ to see that there were complete chapters in our shared history that had been left out .” Thus , when a colleague , David Benjoe , who was leaving Thom after paving the way for the Native Studies course , said to Kim , “ You need to teach this course ,” Kim felt unqualified . She says , “ I was terrified . I knew nothing about Native Studies ... and I was not Indigenous .” However , with David ’ s encouragement to “ just be honest , respectful , kind and funny ,” Kim agreed to teach the course .
“ To have been teaching for 15 years and to only now connect the dots of colonization , especially as a Social Studies / History teacher ... It is shameful ,” says Kim . This regret has been the driving force behind her course and how she teaches it .
Kim is passionate about “ addressing the gaps that exist within our system when it comes to education and whose history is being taught and whose is being left out ,” because she believes it “ is integral when moving forward .”
As a M . Ed . student “ surrounded by some pretty phenomenal professors at both the First Nations University and the University of Regina ,” Kim is able to see that the Faculty of Education is also moving forward and addressing the gaps . She says , “ The education program has changed a lot since I went through it . The U of R today is a different place and is engaging in authentic learning opportunities for future educators in a deeper understanding of the impacts of colonization and Treaty relationships and how this impacts the way we teach . The need to decolonize is now prevalent in the Education Faculty and gives much hope .”
Kim recognizes the importance and central role education has in the process of reconciliation and the hope of rebuilding the relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples . “ We must realize that education had a key role in creating a legacy of hurt , pain , fear , racism , and so on , and as educators we have a massive responsibility in contributing to the healing process through education ,” she says .
Unlearning colonized history and decolonizing relationships involves not only the content that is taught but also how the content is taught . Kim says , “ I cannot stress enough , the importance of teaching Indigenous and non- Indigenous people from an Indigenous perspective . Many of these stories , events and accounts of Canadian history have been completely left out . By digging deeper and challenging uncomfortable learning students are able to recognize circumstances , events and key moments in Canadian history where we have struggled together as Treaty people .”
Kim ’ s passion has ignited the interest of others at Thom Collegiate . This fall , over 25 classes from a variety of subject areas took part in the “ Building Our Home Fire ” project , which explored the legacy of the residential school system . Participating students and teachers found it to be “ an incredible experience .”
With guidance from David and others , Kim found that being non-Indigenous opened up spaces for learning where students were the knowledge keepers in the classroom , not her . This allowed for opportunities to connect with families and community , moving learning beyond the classroom walls . In fact , she has since understood how important her role as a non- Indigenous person is in decolonizing her classroom through these learnings .
As part of the Building Our Home Fire project , students created commemorative tokens which are exhibited in the hallway at Thom Collegiate
Faculty of Education Education News Fall 2015 / Winter 2016 Page 7