Section 1: Inform – Locating Self and Practice
In this section, you will reflect on your own identity within the histories of colonization in Canada and acknowledge the perpetuation of these histories. You’ll also reflect on ways to engage in decolonization, by recognizing and addressing privilege and power imbalances in contemporary realities.
In this section you will locate yourself, your educational experiences, and your practice in relation to Indigenous Peoples, communities, and knowledge systems. Key topics in this section:
- Colonization framework in Canada
- How racism maintains inequity and colonization
- How Indigenous Peoples are reconnecting
- Knowing yourself in relation to Indigenous Peoples
- The need for Indigenizing
- Holding space and humility for other ways of knowing and being
This section should take you 3 (individual) to 11 hours (group) to complete.
Indigenous peoples throughout the world have sustained their unique worldviews and associated knowledge systems for millennia, even while undergoing major social upheavals as a result of transformative forces beyond their control. Many of the core values, beliefs and practices associated with those worldviews have survived and are beginning to be recognized as having an adaptive integrity that is as valid for today’s generations as it was for generations past. The depth of indigenous knowledge rooted in the long inhabitation of a particular place offers lessons that can benefit everyone, from educator to scientist, as we search for a more satisfying and sustainable way to live on this planet.
– Barnhardt and Kawagley (2005, p. 9)
We cannot have a conversation about Indigenous Peoples in Canada without drawing on the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. This work involved Indian residential school survivors having the courage to tell the truth of what occurred in the schools and how it harmed their adult lives, families, and communities. The process used in the hearings also provided a way for non-Indigenous people to bear witness to the stories. The regional sessions and hearings enabled survivors to come together, to be spiritually and emotionally supported, to offer their testimonies, and to hear one another. The stories of survival, resistance, and healing are now housed in the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba and the west coast affiliate centre at the University of British Columbia (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre).
This dialogue must continue in order to ensure that we do not perpetuate othering. As survivors continue their healing process and reconnection with their communities, culture, and identity, Canadians can educate themselves about how assimilative policies and cultural genocide causes and perpetuates power and privilege imbalances and systemic racism across the country.