In the spring of 2015, I took a University of British Columbia EdX course called “Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education.” For a variety of reasons, I found the course challenging–not so much the course materials, which were very interesting, but because it challenged me to think about many of my own assumptions and related experiences.
In the coming while, I will be posting some of my journal reflections, and also some of the assignments from the course. You may agree with my views–or you may disagree strongly. I would love to hear your input either way (so long as we keep the discussion respectful to each other, of course). Please feel free to comment!
I am starting with some journal reflections I wrote after doing the first lesson in the course:
Feb 2 2015: I started the Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education course yesterday. It really shook up some emotions I had pretty much buried.
The more I think about things lately, the more I feel I have been failing my children for years, in that I have avoided talking to them about anything that matters to me. Oh sure, I’m fine with “safe” things where I don’t have to chance being wrong–or being disagreed with. It is scary, I’m finding, to do the “discussion” parts of this course. I could, of course, write nice intellectual bits like some people are–but I’m far too personally involved in this “topic”–it’s far more than just a topic to me; it’s my life and the lives of people I dearly love and care about, and my relationships with them.
It’s the pain of my husband’s life… I know he was listening in a bit when I was watching the video/audio bits of the course… and it wasn’t long before he turned the TV on loudly, and started asking me to do this and that…in that tone of voice that clearly indicates he is upset because there’s something going on that he doesn’t want to face or think about.
I haven’t written anything “new” on my Haida Gwaii Building Bridges site for a long while… but I think it may be time to post some of my responses to this course… and let the flak fly where it may–if anyone cares to read what I’m writing. Up to now, on the site, I’ve pretty much stuck to “safe” stuff… but this is not a “safe” topic. It’s hard. It requires honesty… and courage. It digs into people’s deepest feelings. Hurts. Destroyed lives. Destroyed peoples.
I’m not at all sure that we can really bring about “reconciliation through indigenous education” in public schools. Certainly we can try. But so much racism comes from that which is inhaled early in life. I inhaled love and acceptance in the Masset /Old Massett community until I was 2 years old… and I could never outrun it or turn from it since.
The chart from the newsletter we had to read for the first lesson was really interesting because it shows the difference between levels of “social justice” in education. For so much of the time, we don’t get beyond the most shallow discussion and the “be a nice citizen” approach–and even when we do, we often only get to a “handouts” sort-of-action level… but truly facing the messy root causes and getting involved to the point of taking chances with our own comfort and safety and maybe even our lives… that’s a whole other place to go–which I’ve been avoiding.
“Level 3” is especially difficult for me–the few times I’ve really dipped my feet there are when I’ve been personally living in the mess… and right now, I’m finding the thought of going back there (however that might look) awfully “upsetting” to the “peace and comfort” spot I’ve created for myself ever since my personal “Great Depression” and all that led up to that dark time.
(To be continued…)