How has your upbringing/schooling shaped how you you “read the world?” What biases and lenses do you bring to the classroom? How might we unlearn / work against these biases?
I was born a fifth generation white settler on Treaty 4 territory. Growing up, I didn’t realize this. My family, like many others normalized a kind of under-the-breath racism toward Indigenous people. I attended upper middle class, majority white elementary and high schools. And this kind of racism, subtle as it may be from my social surroundings, no doubt had an impact on the way I viewed Indigenous people in my own community. Since I was young I was taught from my family and from school that racism was wrong — we read books about slavery and learned about the history of racism toward African Americans, but not of the same history that faced Indigenous peoples of Canada.
Unlearning this kind of racism has been something I’ve worked towards since early high-school, and even more so in the past four years since graduation. To do this I’ve learned that my inherent opinions must take a back seat to the truths I’ve learned from my Indigenous friends and community members, and all those working to make those truths heard. This is why Treaty Education is so important — we must disrupt the common narrative in order to allow students to form their own view of the world based on truth and multiple viewpoints.
Which “single stories” were present in your own schooling? Whose truth mattered?
In my own schooling, the common voice and story told was that of the colonial settler. White privilege was threaded throughout my education as we were the only ones to learn about the positive contributions of people who look like us. This gradually began to shift as I got to high school, but the overwhelming amount of stories told were those of white people.