The SAFE conference proved to be another great opportunity for me to learn and grow, especially regarding Treaty education and First Nation education/knowledge. My mind was once again blown but what I had not known and what I had learned for the very first time!
A couple ‘talks’ that stood out for me was the key note speech by Chelsea Vowel and the session done by Mike Cappello and Claire Kreuger. Chelsea’s keynote speech made me look at the racial issues in Saskatchewan and Canada on a different level and even from a somewhat different perspective. Although my perspective can only ever technically be a ‘white’ perspective, she made me realize that as a white person I do not need to lead the charge, nor does anyone probably really want me to. I just have to be better myself and put in work to try and do what I can to make a difference in these sad racist views I see every day. It is definitely important to teach students from a young, but it is equally important to influence and teach their parents these same lessons. Or at least that will be my own small goal.
Mike and Claire’s talk really stood out because it seemed so raw. I think this was partly due to the ‘fishbowl’ discussion at the end, and partly because they recalled an actual classroom event that impacted both of them from different sides and perspectives. I love that Mike had the humility to admit that there was no ‘right’ way to present his past lesson, and that he took the risk anyway. I truly respect that in an educator. I also give mad props to Claire for having the, ummmmm, guts to call Mike out on what she thought was wrong with his past lesson. This is is something I respect greatly in a student.
I am not sure how I would incorporate this into my classroom, as I, myself, am still in the early learning stages of it. However, I think I will definitely stress to my students to open their minds, and just genuinely do what they can to help prevent the pattern of racism that I see firsthand in this province. To encourage them to educate their parents/grandparents. And to make them realize that this is not just a First Nation problem, but a problem for all of Canada, and we should all be doing our part to solve it. Sometimes that may mean just ‘doing the dishes’ and sometimes that may mean ‘leading the charge’.