For those of you who are unaware of the REDress project, it was created Jaime Black, a metis multidisciplinary artist based in Winnipeg. She created the REDress project to represent all of the missing and murdered indigenous women throughout Canada. The REDress project gives people a visual of how many indigenous women have been murdered or have gone missing and have never been found. Universities all around Canada are taking part and are opening up this conversation which is one of the artists goals. Last year at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, they took it upon themselves to take part in their own REDress project where they locate red dresses for all of the murdered or missing indigenous women in Saskatoon alone (resulting in over 200) and hung the dresses around campus to show the thousands of people who travel through campus everyday all of the indigenous women could have been standing there that day if they hadn’t gone missing or been murdered.
I myself have recently sent out some emails inquiring about whether the university of Regina has plans to incorporate the REDress project around our campus. This is the first time that I have heard about this project and I instantly became passionate about it. I am a firm believer in giving people more then just numbers and statistics and providing this visual would be beneficial to so many people. The university serves people aging from 18 all the way up to people in their 80’s so this project would really reach a wide variety of ages.
This past semester during my internship I incorporated some treaty ed. into my lessons. One of the larger lessons that I taught was learning about the term “treaty” and what it means. We were discussing the Treaty of Paris and the events that happened so I decided to take a class to discuss what this word treaty actually means. I was quit shocked to learn that around 90% of the class did not know what a treaty was or the background of this term which was quite disheartening to see. I was co-teaching in a 5/6 split and 95% of the class was white. I had two First Nations students and I expected at least one of them to chime in what a treaty was and some background knowledge of treaties but not even they were able to add to the conversation and this really opened my eyes to how eurocentric the classroom I was teaching on really was.
I took this home with me and critically thought about what was wrong with this picture and what needed to change. Then I realized that I taught them this work “treaty” in one class and the next day moved on with the social outcome due to “time”. If I am going to spend one class telling them what a treaty is and then move on, then I am realistically teaching them another term and moving on. I am guilty for this but what upsets me is that a good portion of classroom teachers are also guilty for doing this an claiming that they taught treaty ed.
My goal is to not teach treaty ed but to incorporate treaty ed. every where in my classroom so that this term “treaty” is not just another definition engraved in my students minds but a part of their heritage and the creation of their country.
Although I was not able to participate in the pipe ceremony today, I have participated in them before and find them to be so crucial for everyone to participate in. Alma lead us through the ceremony and then finished with a debriefing. I took part in the debriefing and one thing that really stood out to me was Alma talking about the importance of taking time to have for yourself. Sitting in on a pipe ceremony does not mean that you are participating in a religious ceremony that might go against your beliefs. It’s about taking an hour out of your day, your week, your month, to sit and relax. To be able to sit and think about your life and everything that you have going on. It’s a time to show off your woman hood and to remember who you are.
One of the words that Alma taught us and pronounced for us is kihci-asotamâtowin which means Sacred Promises to One Another. This really related to how I spent my morning while not at the pipe ceremony. One of my news years resolutions was to focus more on myself and my mental and physical well being. This isn’t a sacred promise to another person but it’s a promise that I made to myself that I find to be very important to me. Myself and my family has gone through a lot over the past few months so keeping this promise is something that I need to do for my well being. I took the time to listen to music and get my ducks in a row so that I can be better and better my mental health now and in the future.
Hello! My name is Logan Schmidt, and I am a white, settler, cis-gender, middle class, heterosexual who lives on treaty 4 territory. I have never met someone who introduces themselves in this way. When I meet someone new, I turn to them and say “Hello, I am Logan” or something along those lines. I do this because I assume everything else about them and they assume these things about me. If they have white skin, I assume that they are white, unless they tell me differently, I assume that they are heterosexual. Why is this the norm? I am not the only person who does and I am sure that 85% of the people I know do the same but I want to know why. We sit here and assume that people are white, or straight, or a settler because in our society we classify those things as our norms when really the people who set these norms were settlers who took over land that did not belong to them.
During class today, we participated in the blanket exercise. This is most definitely not my first time participating in the exercise and I have lead it during my internship. Although, I find myself feeling something different each and every time. In class we learnt about the word tâpwêwin which means “speaking the truth with accuracy” in Cree. Participating in the blanket exercise is doing just that. We are sitting around speaking about the truth which is why the blanket exercise is such a deep and eye opening activity. Whether you participate throughout the whole thing, or are killed off early on, this exercise speaks the truth and the harsh truth. It does not sugar coat anything which is what makes the exercise so powerful. For anyone who has not participated in the exercise, I highly recommend it coming from a white, settler, cis-gender, middle class, heterosexual who lives on treaty 4 territory perspective.
When asked to dig up our roots and share our culture with a classmate, I came to realize that I really don’t know much about my culture and my background. I know that I am French and English on one side and German on the other but I am only able to tell you those simple words. I don’t know what these words mean or my relation to them. How is it possible that I classify this as my culture and yet I don’t actually know anything about it. One thing that I am really looking forward to in this class is being able to find out more about myself and who I am. The first step is going to be finding out truly where I came from and the process of my ancestors getting here.
Well, here is the final blog post of the semester from me and it’s bittersweet! When looking back at all of the posts I’ve commented on, what I tweeted and re-tweeted and our Google+ community I have come to realize how much closer I have become to my fellow classmates, even from behind a screen! I have learnt so much this semester and have tried my best to help others learn (I didn’t know enough to do much of that) but from the blogs and tweets I have definitely learnt something from all of you, and for that I am truly grateful! So here it is!
Well fellow ECMPer’s you are in for a treat today! Lacey Bauche and I have created our online summary of learning in lyrical form. Now I understand that I may have the voice of Beyoncé, however Lacey wasn’t so privileged so I lowered my standards for her! Grab some snacks, some drinks and maybe some ear buds, cause you’re in for a treat with this one!