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)
Joely Bigeagle facilitated a baby moccasin workshop on April 5th, 2016 in the Faculty of Education from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. In the morning session she instructed on how to make the moccasins and in the afternoon session Joely taught how to bead the moccasins. This event was organized by UR Indigenization Lead and faculty member, Dr. Shauneen Pete.
Congratulations to Dr. Shauneen Pete, who was the recipient of the 2016 Peace Builder Award on March 15 at the Regina Intercultural Dialogue Institute’s 4th Annual Friendship Dinner.
Shauneen’s advocacy for indigenization, reconciliation, and Aboriginal education were acknowledged as critical to educating generations of peace builders. She spoke eloquently about our shared responsibilities to live out the TRC Calls to Action, to be in ethical relation with Indigenous peoples of this land, and to work collectively toward a better future.
On behalf of the Faculty of Education, thank you Shauneen for your hard work and unwavering commitment to creating a better world for all.