Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Over 150 Unsettling Things: An Unwieldy and Never-ending List

Thank you to my friends for helping me build this on-going list: Tamara Smith, Claire Kreuger, Dani Driver, Jade Ivan, Nicole Strandlund, Michelle Sanderson, Dr. Valerie Mulholland, Dr. Michael Cappelo, Dr. Shauneen Pete, Steve Krause, Kate Hersberger, Sue Bland, Mary Muirhead, Jessica Gordon, Ron Cyr, Lorianne Edwards, Michael Koops, Bernadette, Andre Boutin-Maloney, Sandy Pinay-Schindler, Michele Schwab, and SherryAnn Thom.

A big shout-out to Shelagh Rogers and Amnesty International Saskatchewan for retweeting and joining the unsettling conversation.

Another big shout out to Jessica Gordon a local community member and one of Idle No More founders. Thank you for your leadership and for joining this conversation.

Over 150 "Unsettling" Things: An Unwieldy and Never-ending List

1.      Learn your Treaty # or Peace and Friendship Treaty Name.

2.      Study a Treaty Map of Canada.

3.      Read any Treaty between First Nations and the British Crown (Peace and Friendship and the Numbered Treaties).

4.      Read the biography of Treaty Commissioner Alexander Morris http://www.otc.ca/bios/12

5.      Examine the Pasqua Pictograph by Chief Ben Pasqua from Treaty 4 as show in Treaty Essential Learnings published by the Saskatchewan Office of the Treaty Commissioner or read this paper by Bob Beal http://www3.brandonu.ca/library/CJNS/27.1/05beal.pdf

6.      Listen to testimony (at least three) from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/index.php?p=3

7.      Consider your own history of coming to Canada. Sue writes, “Most difficult for me personally has been exploring, re-viewing my own family story and seeing how I was brought up by loving, kind people who also believed that white people, especially Anglo Saxon protestant white people were superior to other peoples. Then to explore how deeply this was imprinted on me and see evidence of this each day. Noticing is the first step to change.”

8.      Ask your MLA his or her stand on Implementing Treaty.

9.      Ask your MP his or her stand on Implementing Treaty.

10.   Examine the symbolism on the Treaty Medallion.

11.   Listen to First Nations leaders discuss Treaty responsibility (Check out Chiefs' Forum on Treaty Implementation 2012 CD http://treatywalks.blogspot.ca/2012/10/dan-bellegarde-overview-of-forum.html)

12.   Talk to someone who attended Treaty 1-11 Gathering in 2014 http://www.trcm.ca/wp-content/uploads/NTG-Poster-April-2014.pdf

13.   Attend the 2015 Treaty 1-11 Gathering.

14.   Participate in an "Unsettling" conversation.

15.   Take a Treaty Walk in your home community http://treatywalks.blogspot.ca/2012/10/treaty-walks-for-kids_11.html

16.   Go to a pow wow.

17.   Go to a ceremony when invited.

18.   Read a book like The Orenda or Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden or Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese and consider the complexity of unsettling.

19.   Ask a Kindergartener what it means to keep a promise, then apply that wisdom to keeping treaty promises.

20.   Do inventory on Treaty promises from your side of the handshake: have your Treaty rights been met?

21.   Make a list of Treaty promises which you have benefitted from.

22.   Consider the impact of broken Treaty on those who were cheated.

23.   Make a list of broken Treaty promises.

24.   Advocate for First Nations content within curriculum.

26.   Walk in a march.

27.   Show solidarity with Treaty partners.

28.   Read a good, recent article discussing racism in Canada (Winnipeg Free Press, Ottawa Citizen, Regina Leader Post, Maclean's Magazine)

29.   Retweet, Facebook, become an ally with Amnesty International Stolen Sisters http://www.amnesty.ca/our-work/issues/indigenous-peoples/no-more-stolen-sisters

30.   Research Idle No More.

31.   Read a good, local Thesis: Chauntel Baudu's Anti-Oppressive Education Through English Language Arts: A Recollecting Journey or Tamara Smith's An Unsettling Journey: White Settler Women Teaching Treaty in Saskatchewan.

32.   Join an anti-racism coalition.

34.   Contact Prairie Valley School Division and order "Kitoskayiminawak Pikiskwewak: Our Young People Speak -- The Holistic Edition".

35.   Thank an Indigenous friend for sharing the land.

36.   Rethink the building of Canada through the Treaty lens.

37.   Dream! How could Treaty be fully implemented within my lifetime?

38.   Contact Chief Acoose to see if you can contribute to Bringing the Treaty 4 Medal home http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/rare-treaty-four-medal-returns-to-sask-first-nations-1.2782061

39.   Raise money to build memorial at Lebret Residential School.

40.   Attend a memorial at a Residential School Cemetery.

41.   Attend a feast or funeral when invited.

42.   Learn about the Indian Act.

43.   Follow activists on Twitter.

44.   Watch 8th Fire with Wab Kinew.

45.   Learn basic tipi teachings.

46.   Consider how Canada might change if Settler Descendants considered First Nations peoples' as relatives.

47.   Consider where you stand on stereotypes like Pocahontas and Indigenous Mascots http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/cowboys-and-indians-cheerleaders-photo-sparks-regina-furor-1.2574979

48.   Order "100 Years of Loss: The Residential School System in Canada" free from the Legacy of Hope Foundation www.legacyofhope.ca  info@legacyofhope.ca

49.   Check out Stephen Harper's apology: https://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100015644/1100100015649

50.   Read "So You've Just Decided You're Not Okay with Unbalanced Treaty Implementation"

51.   Read "So You've Just Found Out You're a Treaty Person"

52.   Learn about the Royal Proclamation of 1763 http://www.ubcic.bc.ca/files/html/McKennaMcBride/royalproc1763.htm

53.   Attend a SAFE conference #safe2014 in Saskatchewan or join this Special Subject Council  https://sites.google.com/site/sasksafe/  

54.   Check out UofR Education initiatives http://issuu.com/urfacultyofed/docs/fall2012winter2013finalweb

55.   Read Paulette Regan's Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling and Reconciliation in Canada.

56.   Consider this quote by Regan (2010): "...without this unsettling, little will change" (p.19).

57.   Consider Settler mourning: http://astheworldburns.net/2015/01/02/death-to-settler-identity/ (Thanks Val!)

58.   Recognize that naming was and still is part of the process of colonization. Be critical and aware of the names of things around you. (Thanks, Tamara, and for the next one, too.)

59.   Seek out historical truths surrounding the names of things (streets, buildings, etc.) in your local area. For example, if you live in Regina and/or have ever driven down Dewdney Avenue, do you you know much about the history of Edgar Dewdney?

60.   Thanks for the Tweet, Shelagh Rogers, “To help get to 100, here are a few. Follow @CBC_Aboriginal, RT @GregoryScofield’s Name a Day #MMIW, Follow @WitnessBlanket”

61.   See the Witness Blanket or at least visit the website and watch the video and read the news articles. (http://witnessblanket.ca/) (Thanks, Claire for ten strong Unsettling ideas!)

62.   Participate in the Project of Heart or visit a school that has. (http://projectofheart.ca/)

63.   Send a Have a Heart Valentine to Prime Minister Harper (http://www.fncaringsociety.com/have-a-heart)

64.   Watch the Horizon School Division's We Are All Treaty People video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HbAr5PC4pY)

65.   Then make your own We Are All Treaty People video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1E6xDhWT8y8)

66.   Read the Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King and Clearing the Plains by James Daschuk.

67.   Talk to an 8 year-old about the Columbus story and enjoy their complete disbelief that an adult could make such colossal mistakes.

68.   Have a discussion about the name of the Washington NFL football team and talk about "honouring" aboriginal peoples with sports names.

69.   Follow the twitter hashtag #treatyed.

70.   Have ten conversations in which you refer to yourself as a settler (if applicable)... throw in "unsettled" for extra points.

71.   Learn about White Privilege (thanks Dani for the next three points, too). (https://www.isr.umich.edu/home/diversity/resources/white-privilege.pdf

72.   Look at a Treaty monument and think about the story it is telling. http://treatywalks.blogspot.ca/2012/07/day-one-hundred-ninety-nine-treaty.html (See pictures of Treaty Four Monument at beginning and end of Fort Qu’Appelle walking tour.)

73.   Learn about the Medicine Wheel.

74.   Listen to an Elder.

75.   I think learning about the land is really important. Spend time on the land. Build a relationship with the land and learn from the land. Learn about the place names before they were re-branded with colonial English or French names. What do the original names tell us about the land we live on? (Thanks, Nicole for the next three, too.)

76.   Read Keith Basso's book Wisdom Sits in Places and talk to Elders about the land...while on the land!

77.   LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN. There is so much to learn from all of the amazing people around you. Build a network of people and have conversations with them about Treaty education and Anti-Racist/Anti-Oppressive practices.

78.   Look at your own settler history (if you are a settler) and look at the privileges/opportunities presented to your ancestors and yourself that were directly denied to others.

79.   Learn to name and locate all reserves in Saskatchewan (Thanks, Bernadette)

80.   Connect with Human Rights Activists at http://amnesty.ca/our-work/issues/indigenous-peoples (Thanks Amnesty Saskatchewan @aisaskfws)

81.   Work at being an ally. Dr. Lynn Gehl's work is very helpful if you want to know more about what it can mean to be an ally: http://www.lynngehl.com/ (Thanks Tamara for the next two points as well.)

82.   ALWAYS be open to learning more. There are many amazing resources, whether it's people, books, lectures, etc. Dr. Shauneen Pete once talked about accepting these opportunities to learn as gifts. Be thankful for the gifts.

83.   Unsettling is a journey and it doesn't necessarily have an "end point." Try to respect that all people are at different places on their journey. In her thesis, Susan Lang argues that we need to reframe the way we respond to others who are at different places in their journey; reframing is the process of “…finding the opportunity to support change, in any given situation, rather than being part of the negativity. It involves the ability to shed the common reaction of being offended, or being judgmental, towards someone else’s ignorance or cultural inappropriateness” (p.114). http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/obj/thesescanada/vol2/BVIV/TC-BVIV-3360.pdf

84.   Visit a blockade (thanks Kate for the next six, too.)

85.   Read alternative news.

86.   Make art.

87.   Start a discussion about Treaty.

88.   Start a discussion group about Treaty.

89.   Attend speaking opportunities in your community such as recently in Regina, Cindy Blackstock from the University of Alberta, Executive Director, First Nations Child and Family Caring. http://www.extension.ualberta.ca/research/professoriate-directory/blackstock/

90.   Read “Why Don’t You People Just Get Over it? Here’s Why at… http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/.../Why-dont...

91.   Research and learn about the “Trust fund” established at the time of the Treaties if you think it is taxpayers who support FN endeavours. See A Short Note to Correct Canadian Misconceptions About Indians Living Off “Taxpayer Monies”…  http://westcoastnativenews.com/a-short-note-to-correct.../ (Thanks Sue).

92.   Watch, collect, and share some of the incredible stories of settlers who were rescued from and taught how to overcome the harsh realities of the Canadian winter. I saw a documentary about some Icelanders. I believe they were essential left adrift on Lake Winnipeg by those supposedly taking them to their new home. They were, however, rescued. (Thanks, Mom!)

93.   Consider how the world has benefitted from First Nations’ medicine (upwards to 80% of modern medicine). One story, at the end of this blog post, tells of my Grandfather, as a little boy, being cured from ring worm by a Medicine Man, Frank Bamagezik. http://treatywalks.blogspot.ca/2012/01/day-eighty-eight-all-nations-healing.html

94.   How about “Participate in an Unsettling conversation” but NOT participate, because you feel un-empowered? (Thanks, Steve, and for the next eighteen, too.)

95.   Challenge yourself to see peoples’ differences and acknowledge them, appreciate them. Understanding that not seeing differences is detrimental.

96.   Watch Kevin Annett “UNREPENTANT”. A minister’s struggle with colonization and residential school system in isolated northern community.

97.   Compare and contrast Apartheid in Africa to First Nations history in Canada. Did you know the system is based on the Canadian system? Or learn about Apartheid.

98.   Go to the Saskatchewan Legislature and take the tour the government has on First Nations people/chiefs. What does their perspective denote on Canada’s (Saskatchewan/First Nations) peoples’ history? Perspectives?

99.   Acknowledge that many Canadians have the view “What happened to Indians 100 years ago has nothing to do with me, why should I pay for it, why don’t they get over it?” (tie with 13 and 90).

100.          Understand or discuss the “noble Indian” persona. Ask yourself who that serves.

101.          How did early 50s and 60s media of the “savage” Indian contribute to today’s view of First Nations people?

102.          Do impoverished First Nations youth glorify rap and gangsta lifestyles? Why do you think so?

103.          Discuss how First Nations veterans were treated differently during and after the war.

104.          Compare and contrast the rights and expectations of women and the First Nations people prior to the 1960s. Try and include experiences from your parents/grandparents. If you don’t know any, ask yourself, why?

105.          Ask, can you put a price tag on sacred lands?

106.          What is the historical significance of the phrase “to take the Indian out of the child?” What ramifications has that had. (Wow, big question, I know, says Steve.)

107.          How did the lawyers benefit from Residential School Claims? Is it right to profit off “genocide”?

108.          Where did the term “genocide” originate?

109.          Unsettle yourself by discussing the Steven Cumberfield/Alex Ternowetskiy murder of Pamela George. Also the Marshall case.

110.          Is the funding of schools on and off reserves fair?

111.          Why are reserves funded differently? How is the process different?

112.          Ask local colonial people to talk about when they were young. Compare to Indigenous stories listened to in person or as collected in a book like Treaty Elders of Saskatchewan.

113.          Listen to the stories of Indigenous peoples when they are followed in stores, renting an apartment, speaking to police, in school as the only brown face, applying and interviewing for a job, having their children enter competitive sports; then, share these stories with other settlers. (Thank you Jessica Gordon for this and the next three points.)

114.          Help the Indigenous peoples of the territory find/record/protect their sacred sites and traditional areas of ceremony, harvesting, gathering and hunting.

115.          Know the difference between written text and the spirit and intent of Treaty. Hear the oral history of the negotiations from Indigenous and Elders.

116.          Compare residential schools to today’s foster care and child protection system and keep in mind that poverty doesn’t equal neglect. Remember the effects of colonization.

117.          Consider the Justice System. How it keeps Indians in it. Why are so many young Indian men getting Dangerous Offender designation on the prairies while rapists, molesters and murders in other provinces aren’t? (Thanks Ron for this and the next three Points)

118.          Why is the IRS School education process BS? How was it only good PR for the government?

119.          In Foster Care, why do they take the kids instead of structuring a process to keep families together?

120.          Ron Cyr says racism is alive and well in Saskatchewan, individually and institutionally. What is your experience with racism?

121.          Explore delays and lack of response from NIHB on repairs to medical equipment. (Thanks, Lorianne)

122.          Consider the latest report from CBC about how First Nations people are receiving substandard Healthcare (Thanks Michael). http://www.cbc.ca/m/touch/news/story/1.2942644

123.          Wear a shirt with four samples of fleshtone “Unlearn” (thanks Andre and for the next three points too). http://www.unlearn.com/scripts/prodView.asp?idProduct=16

124.          Research the Blackfoot influence on the work of Abraham Maslow. Look at the 12 part presentation of the Itsinikssiistsi Project research by Ki’naksaapo’p (Narcisse Blood) and Akayo’kaki (Ryan Heavy Head) which tells the story of the Blackfoot influence on Maslow. http://blackfootdigitallibrary.com/en/asset/blackfoot-influence-abraham-maslow,-presented-narcisse-blood-and-ryan-heavy-head-university-mo

125.          Watch “One Big Hapa Family” which Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival artistic director Healther Keung says is “one of the most thorough, fun and open-ended pieces I’ve seen about how young people perceive their mixed-race identities”.  http://s410571204.onlinehome.us/One_Big_Hapa_Family/Welcome.html

126.          Watch “Between: Living in the Hyphen” by Anne Marie Nakagawa which “examines what it means to have a background of mixed ancestries that cannot be easily categorized… offers a provactive glimpse of what the future holds: a departure from hyphenated names towards a celebration of fluidity and being mixed.” https://www.nfb.ca/film/between_living_in_the_hyphen/

127.          Ask Dr. Valerie Mulholland about the Kitchen Table Pedagogy which she learned about from Russell Fayant.

128.          First Nations children have a right to the same health care services as any other child in Canada. Check out http://www.fncaringsociety.com/jordans-principle (Thanks Sandy for this and the next point.)

129.          Follow cases like Dr. Cindy Blackstock taking the federal government to the Supreme Court of Canada for racist treatment and underfunding of First Nations children’s services.

130.          Check out 7 Free Ways to Make a Difference http://www.fncaringsociety.com/7-free-ways-make-difference

131.          Examine the protests that are going on, such as tar sands, mineral rights, land in northern Sask. (Thanks, Michele for this and the next three points)

132.          Compare protests today with Oka from 1990  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oka_Crisis

133.          Tour and explore FNUC (First Nations University of Canada). Understand their programs and courses are for everyone, shared, the original intent of Treaties. http://fnuniv.ca/

134.          Seek out a First Nations role model, display posters and watch interviews. In Balcarres, we have ours on a YouTube channel.

135.          Tour and explore the All Nations Healing Hospital in Fort Qu’Appelle and consider how this Indigenous lead institution is honouring Treaty.  http://www.fortquappelle.com/anhh.html

136.          Support and care for elders when they lose their short term memory and sometimes find themselves reliving long term memories from residential school days. Try to understand what they went through, way back then and even still happening today. We need to be the change we want to see. It’s not easy, but one day everyone will live in harmony. (Thank you, SherryAnn for your support of elders.)

137.          Go Forth and Be Awkward in these Unsettling Times. (Sheena) Expect to be sometimes uncomfortable.

138.          Consider “unsettling” Action Research with the McDowell Foundation for Research into Teaching. 

139.          Use the Action Research cycle of questioning, acting, reflecting over and over as you unsettle your practice.

140.          Support Indigenous leadership within our Canadian institutions.

141.          Practice hand shaking when entering a room or welcoming a guest into a room in honour of the Treaty Handshake.

142.          Whisper a confession of your privilege, identity, activism as a “liberal white girl” and consider the cost, the choice, the privilege of choosing the cost.

143.          If you are a settler descendant, acknowledge your own sacred teachings and cultural ways of being and find bridges of deep connection to Indigenous sacred teachings and cultural ways of being.

144.          Problematize standardized testing.

145.          Watch CBC program “Up Where We Belong” starring Buffy Sainte Marie. Consider her monologue on “guilt and bitterness”. Here she has used it for her Cradleboard Project http://www.cradleboard.org/curriculum/powwow/supplements/guilt.html

146.          Support acts of cultural resurgence including language classes, storytelling, art, drama, ceremony, teachings etc.

147.          Read “Tips for Teacher Resurgence, Idle No More Style” http://treatywalks.blogspot.ca/2013/03/tips-for-teacher-resurgence-idle-no.html

148.          Watch Blue Eyes Brown Eyes with Jane Elliott. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQAmdZvKf6M

149.          Confess the temptation of being a bully, Lady Bountiful and self-white-tiousness in the name of anti-racism. (Sheena) 

150.          Look at the land you live on through “unploughed eyes”. As a child I used to wonder, who were these people who walked this land? (Sheena)

151.          Listen to an Indigenous women tell about her children’s experiences in education (thank you Michelle for the next six too).

152.          Listen for the threads of outsider status, racism and colonialism in education.

153.          Ask whether First Nations students and families feel welcomed in their classrooms, in their schools, then think about ways to improve that relationship.

154.          Go watch a First Nation student’s hockey game.

155.          Find out about etiquette at round dances and pow wows or ceremonies in the community and show up (accept an invitation or ask if you need an invitation). Bring your blanket, shake hands and sit with a family from your school.

156.          Have separate engagement meetings with First Nations families or school community council meetings so that their voices and concerns aren’t lost amongst the loud, priviledged, and often white families.

157.          Sit with First Nations families and LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN. Don’t redirect, and say, “I’m not sure that’s true.” Think, this is their thoughts, feelings and knowledge, and it’s a gift. What you do with it, is your work.

158.          Make a feast bag complete with bowls with lids, utensils, plastic bags.

159.          Practice wearing a long skirt to pow wows, feasts, and other sacred events.

160.          Take off glasses and jewelry during prayer as a sign of respect.

161.          Take soup, chilli, buns, or whatever your specialty to a feast, wake, or funeral.

162.          Consider these two questions from University of Regina Professors Dr. Shauneen Pete and Dr. Michael Cappelo presented at the SAFE 2014 Conference Keynote address in Regina:

a.      What do you need to do to begin to accept the gifts that First Nations and Metis people offer you?

b.      How will you let those gifts change your assumptions about anti-racism work?

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