On December 11, 2017, Math 101 students held a mini Math Fair, presenting their posters which reflected the Indigenization of mathematics concepts. (see photos above)
The concept of Indigenization is identified as “one of the University’s two overarching areas of emphasis” within the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan (https://www.uregina.ca/strategic-plan/priorities/indigenization.html). Depending upon the definition consulted, Indigenization may or may not be considered the work of settler/immigrant Canadians for it involves first-hand revitalizations of First Nations, Inuit and Métis languages, legal systems, and ceremonies, among many other aspects. Indigenization, however, lies in relation with decolonization and thereby challenges all Canadians to work at disrupting and changing current institutions and systems, including those educational. Thus, as a doctoral candidate of mathematics education, Shana Graham has been studying Indigenization and decolonization so as to inform her dissertation research which involves (re)imagining possibilities for mathematics education.
The idea for the implementation of a Mathematics 101 final project as poster and Mini Math Fair was informed by Show Me Your Math: Connecting Math to Our Lives and Communities, a program developed by Dr. Lisa Lunney-Borden and Dr. David Wagner (http://showmeyourmath.ca/). While a final poster project is not unusual within education courses, it is unique to a Mathematics 101 course. Decolonization, however, encourages considerations of context/community, which for this particular mathematics course involved only preservice teachers from the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP-Regina). Thus, in adapting/decolonizing curricula for context/community, the arguments presented for changing the Mathematics 101 final evaluation from exam to project were accepted by Dr. Shaun Fallat, Head of the Department of Mathematics & Statistics. The support of Dr. Fallat and the Dean of Science, Dr. Farenick, need be acknowledged for reconciliatory acts may not otherwise be possible without the support of such powerful individuals.
Graduate students with diverse backgrounds have come together with a common goal of decolonizing adult learning.
The graduate course, Trends and Issues in Indigenous Adult Education, explores research, theory, and the practice of trends, issues, and perspectives in Indigenous learning.
Students from six countries were in the class from Brazil, Canada, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa and Sri Lanka. The diversity speaks to the higher number of international students who are choosing to further their studies at the University of Regina.
Having such a mix of backgrounds and viewpoints in one class made for some eye-opening perspectives on trends and issues involved in decolonizing adult learning in order to improve Indigenous education.
The class was led by Dr. Cindy Hanson, Associate Professor of Adult Education/Human Resource Development in the Faculty of Education.
“The class was important in this case because it was a coming together of international and Indigenous students in a very organic way and with a broad range of understandings regarding history, culture, and politics in Indigenous Adult Education,” says Hanson. “The course offered an opportunity to put this into practice. Experiences from the field of adult learning were built into the content.”
Many also feel little has been done to build structures and programs in communities for adult learning about decononization and Indigenous issues. They see this class as a good start. The students appreciated the participatory approach to Hanson’s class, allowing for discussions.
José Wellington Sousa is from Brazil and is working on his PhD in Adult Education at the U of R. He has earned a BA in Economics and a Masters of Science in Administration at the University of Amazonia in Brazil.
“The class was a great example of what is going on in Canada right now. I can see the diversity in the classroom. We can learn from each other. We had many nations and sharing and reflecting on Indigenous education,” says Sousa. “In Brazil, we are kind of behind in the discussions of decolonization. So we are not even talking about reconciliation and addressing the injustice. I see this class as an opportunity to understand and learn.”
Issah Gyimah, who earned his Bachelor of Education at the University of South Africa, grew up in the post-Apartheid era. He’s taught in South Africa, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia. He started his studies at the U of R in September.
“Coming from Africa and knowing about Apartheid, colonization, and racism, I have learned a lot from here and this class,” says Gyimah. “It has changed my perspective on how I see things. This class is a good foundation.”
Gyimah points out that adult education in South Africa is a growing area and a field that is not completely developed.
“We’ve been looking at children, but adults have influence on the children. There is a backlog of adults who did not get an education so this has left a big gap in South Africa,” he says.
Pauline Copland earned her Education Degree from Arctic College in Nunavut. She’s working towards her masters in curriculum and instruction at the U of R. Her first language is Inuktikut.
“From the readings and talking to my classmates, I learned things about our Canadian history, even my own history, like residential schools. It affected who I am without knowing,” says Copland, who appreciates the class diversity. “Compared to where I went to school, coming here looks like the whole world is here. The diversity is really nice, meeting people from different countries.”
The class includes one student from Saskatchewan, who sees her experience and diverse views as an asset that will help her down the road.
Chantelle Renwick has a Business Degree from the U of R and a graduate diploma in teaching from New Zealand. It was her experience in New Zealand that started her passion for Indigenous education. She’s working on her masters in Indigenous Education.
“What we hear over and over is that colonization has happened in so many part of the world and that Indigenous people have been dealing with the loss of culture and language,” says Renwick, who is an instructor of Office Administration at Saskatchewan Polytechnic in Regina.
“You realize with such a diverse class the different history and different feelings and perspective that the adult learners bring to the classroom. You become more conscious about the impact colonization has on people.”
The final class December 5, in the presence of elder Alma Poitras, featured a discussion about what the students learned and how it could be applied to their workplace or personal lives.
The classes also featured speakers including elders, a speaker from the Office of the Treaty Commission, a Metis lawyer storyteller, a talk by the U of R’s James Daschuk author of Clearing The Plains, and a fieldtrip to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum led by curator Dr. Evelyn Siegfried.
“Decolonizing adult education is a current theme in the field of adult education and a critical perspective on how to do this with a range of learners is important,” says Hanson.
The University of Regina has enjoyed an increase of graduate students. As of the Fall 2017, 1,902 graduate students are furthering their studies at the University.
The Faculty of Education’s commitment to Indigenization is reflected in our strategic plan. In light of our commitment, the position of Chair of Indigenization was created. The Chair of Indigenization was offered to Dr. Anna-Leah King and she has accepted.
Among other responsibilities, Dr. King will provide leadership; oversee implementation of the Faculty Indigenization commitment; liaise and support the work of Elders, old ones, knowledge keepers; provide guidance to faculty, staff, and students with respect to protocols and create opportunities for faculty and staff to engage in learning and professional development with Indigenization.
Alanis King, an Odawa playwright, director and educator originally from the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve, was a special speaker for Dr. Anna-Leah King’s Reading Education class. Alanis (sister to Anna-Leah) is the first Aboriginal woman to graduate from the National Theatre School of Canada, and she has been Artistic Director of Askiy Productions, the Debajehmujig Theatre Group, Native Earth Performing Arts in Toronto and Saskatchewan Native Theatre where she taught risk-prone inner city youth life skills through drama. She has produced, toured, directed and developed a wide range of plays in many First Nation communities across the continent.
This evening, Wednesday, February 15, in the Classroom Building (CL 112) at 8:00 p.m., Alanis will be reading in the Playwright’s Reading Series, hosted by the Media, Arts and Performance (MAP) Faculty, in partnership with the Saskatchewan Writer’s Guild with the assistance of the Playwrights Guild of Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts.
Dr. Gale Russell’s EMTH 300 students crafted some Indigenous games of chance, which they also had fun playing once they had created them. Beyond learning math content, preservice teachers, who will work with children in their future math classrooms, must learn how to make learning accessible, fun, engaging, and culturally responsive. Students accessed these games at http://mathcentral.uregina.ca/rr/database/rr.09.00/treptau1/
Photo Gallery (Slide cursor over the photo below and click on the arrow to see the next photos)
An astounding number of preservice and in-service educators (over 300!) gathered together on Saturday, October 1 to take advantage of a great opportunity: to learn about treaty education at #TreatyEdCamp 2.0. Treaty education is mandatory in Saskatchewan curriculum and #TreatyEdCamp is professional development delivered “by teachers for teachers,” allowing educators to learn about treaty and how to implement treaty education in their classrooms.
Katia Hildebrandt, Meagan Dobson and Raquel Bellefleur co-organized this second annual #treatyedcamp with the help of UR S.T.A.R.S. and many volunteers and with financial support from the Faculty of Education and the Aboriginal Student Centre.
Before participants went off to concurrent sessions (27 presentations over 4 sessions this year), Mike Desjarlais sang and drummed a song of remembrance, a reminder to participants to think of their loved ones who have gone before them. Dr. Jennifer Tupper spoke on the importance and need for treaty education, reminding participants of the recent murder of 22-year-old Colten Boushie of the Red Pheasant Reserve, which highlighted the racism that is prevalent in Saskatchewan, “still touching us all.” Education about what First Peoples have gone through at the hands of government — broken treaty promises that resulted in such losses as the loss of language and culture, loss of children to residential schools, and loss of loved ones to intergenerational trauma effects– will help to make changes that honour treaty rights, and someday will hopefully eradicate the issue of children in foster care and youth in gangs.
Brad Bellegarde, a Regina hip-hop artist and journalist, brought the Keynote presentation, “Hip Hop is the New Buffalo” after a lunch of soup and bannock. Bellegard expressed his desire to see the smiles on the faces of First Nation youth as they find relevance, self-expression and the ability to fight oppression through Hip Hop music. (See his video: https://youtu.be/TGZSBx3Ye5c). He also showed a youtube to demonstrate how music can bridge cultural gaps, creating opportunities to collaborate in schools. He encouraged teachers to ask about what they don’t know, just as he did when he went to Germany and Chile. “You’re teachers; you’re just like a big gang,” he said, “you can support each other.”
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Noel Starblanket and Alma Poitras have agreed to serve as our Elders-in-Residence for the current academic year. Noel will be with us from September 15, 2016 to April 15, 2017. Alma will work with us from September 19, 2016 to December 16, 2016 and may continue with us in the winter semester.
Alma and Noel will offer invaluable support in our individual and collective efforts to Indigenize our pedagogy, research, and practices in a variety of ways including:
· cultural advising with students and faculty
· advising on appropriate protocols
· advising on culturally responsive approaches to teaching and learning
· supporting treaty education and indigenization efforts
· meeting with students and/or faculty
· visiting with some classes to share understandings
· offering curriculum consultation
The Faculty looks forward to benefiting from the experience, teaching, wisdom, and generosity that our Elders have to offer.
The Faculty of Education joined with the Treaty 4 Gathering at Fort Qu’Appelle on Monday, September 12.
Nearly 70 participants sat in the circle of the large tipi of the Treaty 4 Governance Center to discuss an important and emotional issue: “Empowering Women”: Weaving Stories, Inspiring Action–A Conversation about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.”
After Elder Alma Poitras led the meeting in prayer and smudging, Elder Brenda Dubois spoke of the importance of Kokum (a Cree word for Grandmother) in protecting communities and ensuring safety. However, she pointed out that many Kokums are now raising several children who have been left behind by their parents. The need is greater than can be addressed by Kokums only.
Elder Dubois emphasized the need to “re-dress” not just address the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women; the discussion has gone on long enough–solutions are needed and reparations must be made. She pointed out that colonists negotiated with the men only, in a time when women were the decision makers. The effects of colonization have been devastating to Indigenous women. Dubois said that Indigenous women must take back their rightful position, as must the men.
After she spoke, several women shared their stories of loss and trauma due to racial and gender discrimination. One woman spoke of the need for stories of healing, so that we can walk forward together.
Dr. Brenda Anderson then spoke on the need for professors such as herself to use their privilege to educate others to respect and honour Indigenous peoples and cultures. She expressed concern, however, about how “good” works would be done. She reminded us that many White settlers believed (and would still believe) that the residential school system was good.
After refreshments prepared by Dickie Yuzicapi, the Sioux Chef, participants were given ribbons and instructions for creating a star, as part of the One Million Stars project by Maryann Talia Pau an Australia-based, Samoan Super Weaver. She says, the hand woven stars “are symbols of light, courage and solidarity to end all forms of violence, including violence against women, bullying and racism.”
Dr. Shauneen Pete took up the challenge to move the discussion to action. She generated discussion in a brainstorming session about two key questions: What are the concrete issues that the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls must address for it to be successful?; and, Given your personal/professional position, what are the concrete actions that you can take to make our communities safer for Indigenous Women and Girls? Many suggestions were offered including ensuring the RCMP are accountable, teaching about safety, ensuring there is no ban on cold cases, ensuring support through the justice system process, and most importantly, when attempting to redress the issue, paying attention—listening—to the families and communities who have been affected by the loss of a beloved woman or girl. This was a major theme throughout the discussion. The answers should come from Indigenous communities, from those most impacted.
Organizer and moderator, Dr. Michael Cappello said that what he took home was the importance of centering the voices of families affected by the trauma of missing and murdered loved ones. Dr. Cappello felt that it wasn’t an option for educators and preservice teacher educators to remain outside of this important issue. He said, “We, as White Settlers, are positioned to bear some of the weight of this issue. We, as a Faculty, can create spaces—through policy, values, language, and intention—for Indigenous ways and culture to be respected and honoured. We can prepare young men to go against the violence of the dominant male stereotype; we can honour women and girls, showing them how they should expect to be treated; we can teach to engage the heart in preparing teachers.”
The faculty and staff of the Faculty of Education came together on August 29 for their Annual Fall Faculty Seminar. New faculty and staff were introduced and the past year’s achievements were recognized and celebrated.
One fun tradition in the Faculty is the “Dead Balloon Award,” which is awarded to faculty who achieve their Ph.D. This year’s recipients are Dr. Christine Massing, Dr. Jenn De Lugt, and Dr. Gale Russell. They will share this award, but they won’t hold on to it long, since new faculty Sara Schroeder, Heather Phipps and Jöel Thibeault are close to their defence dates.
The morning also included the Blanket Exercise, which began with a prayer by Elder Noel Starblanket. Dr. Michael Cappello was the Narrator, a UR S.T.A.R.S. representative assisted with the exercise, and Dr. Shauneen Pete played the role of the European.
After the Blanket Exercise, faculty and staff had opportunity to express their thoughts and emotions regarding the exercise and the Calls to Action from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. Dr. Jolee Sasakamoose led the group in an Indigenous Expressive Art Therapy activity, which is a therapeutic and reconciliatory approach that has developed in response to the groundwork laid by the First Nations communities within Saskatchewan and through the spiritual guidance engaged with ceremonial practices and protocols.
After lunch, the faculty and staff enjoyed an afternoon of golf followed by a BBQ. (Below is a photo gallery of the day. Slide your cursor over the photo and click on the arrow to see the next photo)