Education News Spring 2018 - Page 14

Conversations about reconciliACTIONS about it. A point that stood out to me was the quote, “Biological race is a fallacy that only indicates how far from the equator our ancestors were born, while racism is real and tangible in both historical and modern systems and structures” [Michael Cappello, 2018, It’s Still Okay to Be (Against) White(ness)]. When I read the points explaining why [we should] talk about it, I was deeply moved by a point quoted from a University of Regina Professor. Dr. Michael Cappello: “Guilt is what you feel for something you’ve done. Responsibility is what you take because of the kind of person you are… it is our responsibility to undo the generations of work that have created the unequal outcomes that surround us.” something to do. A lot of people say good things about what we are doing. We’ve been told that they are proud of us because we are young and we are making an impact on people.” TREATY WALK IN THE VILLAGE My reconciliation includes becoming familiar with the TRC Calls to Action and to share them with other people. (Please read http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/ File/2015/Findings/Calls_to_Action_ English2.pdf) First-year student Brandy Burns attended the Treaty Walk in the Village, located at Orange Tree Village, on the evening of April 5th and wrote the following reflection on her experience entitled, Respectful Relations: Another moving display shared the book, Secret Path, by Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire. The book is a heartbreaking and moving story based on the historical account of one boy’s attempt to escape an abusive residential school. Sadly he dies before making it home. The journey of 600 miles was too far in the extreme weather. This is just one of many lives lost because of residential schools. The presenters encouraged people to think about what they can do by completing the sentence “My reconciliation includes…” Treaty Walk in the Village was a rich and inspiring learning journey. Education students from the University of Regina created an interactive environment to engage people in what they have learned and are passionate about in regards to Canada’s less spoken and dark history (and continuation) of oppression and abuse of Indigenous people. Not only did the students bring awareness to this occurrence, they also shared valuable ways to contribute towards reconciliation. Every single display was well presented and meaningful. I will highlight four of the displays that were especially meaningful to me. My first stop in the room was a board explaining White privilege. The presenter first explained what White privilege is not. Some of the examples of what it is not were, “shaming, blaming, or suggesting White people are guilty” and “suggesting that all White people have had it easy or have not faced challenges.” The fact the presenter felt he must address this before even talking about what White privilege is, reminded me of the term ‘White fragility.’ The card in orange has the TRC Call to Action #75 printed on it, “We call upon the federal government to work with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, churches, Aboriginal communities, former residential school students, and current landowners to develop and implement strategies and procedures for the ongoing identification, documentation, maintenance, commemoration, and protection of residential school cemeteries or other sites at which residential school children were buried. This is to include the provision of appropriate memorial ceremonies and commemorative markers to honour the deceased children.” The presenters showed pictures of the industrial school before it was destroyed by a fire. They shared their own experience of trying to find the cemetery. There was no signage indicating where it was, what it was, or who was buried there. The only marker was one for the first headmaster of the school. The cemetery was surrounded by a painted white fence and nothing else. I agree this falls very short of honouring the Call to Action. The last display I want to talk about was titled, “Walking with our Sisters.” Walking with our Sisters is a commemorative art instillation for the missing and murdered Indigenous women of Canada and the USA (http://walkingwithoursisters.ca). The tops of moccasins are beaded and then intentionally not sewn into moccasins. They represent the unfinished lives of murdered and missing Indigenous women. The presenters shared there is an ongoing investigation by the government about the common occurrence of Indigenous women being murdered and going missing but there does not seem to be a lot of findings on this matter. They shared the hashtags #wecare and #MMIWG to show these women are not forgotten and something must be done to end this violence. The display then moves into defining what White privilege is and why we should learn continued on next page Page 14