Category Archives: learning

Teaching Indigenous Knowledge

Relationality

When I work in my field I use a lot of circles.

My work in using circles is a way we are familiar with back home. Knowledge Keepers & Elders back home in the traditional territory of my mom, in Pic River First Nation, nestled in the boreal forests along the north shore of Lake Superior, use circles often as they work. Its something I have come to know and understand as my norm.

Our Elders always understood the power of two things: being together with family and promoting unity and harmony as teachers.

When I was twelve, I remember first going home to Pic, and attending ceremonies: naming, sweat lodge, and other ceremonies. It wasn’t until I taught a group of learners in Thunder Bay Ontario where I introduced myself in my language, including my dodem, and where I was from, that it occurred to me, “this is the first time I have ever introduced myself in a culturally responsive aka the way I introduce myself in my circles that are cultural, ever” Whaat… really.. I had never introduced myself and my cultural lineage in a post secondary institution culturally. Nope. Never as a teacher, definitely as a learner. Being the teacher and setting the tone for the class this way set the class up for a different level of sharing. This is what culturally relevant teaching looks and feels like. It feels like home.

As I grew older in life, I would be invited to other places sometimes rejected as well, the rejection that I faced hurt. The rejection was not something our Elders would agree with and something they knew well, and definitely strived to protect us from it. The rejection of not being from the community and then not being invited because we or our family did not meet that criteria, which essentially rejected us or left us out, was a common theme in my life, especially being mixed race: see Bill C 31, see favouritism, see nepotism, see alienation, for your own definitions.

Humility has taught me that inclusion is a universal right. Inclusion and kinship are related. My angle of relationality stems from this place of ensuring that all stories that learners bring to the space designated to teach about Indigenous Knowledge

Respect

Working in the field and area of Indigenous Knowledges and with hope to do my part in repairing, helping to build bridges, and support Best Practices in sharing and creating spaces for Indigenous Knowledges. Being in my home territory of Thunder Bay was important for many reasons. For one reclaiming was a part of it.

It mattered because I needed to find a way to be respectful to my many roles: mother first and always, educator, teacher, consultant. The mother first story always seemed to poke poke thanks to the many years and layers of lateral violence women experience especially those of us who are career based women when we are forced to chose: job vs. kids. The mother story was also significant this is my common denominator to every other Indigenous mother; just because you launch out there in your areas of expertise, you never lose your being Indigenous. If anything, it becomes more pronounced in your work and areas of expertise. Why would we do things any differently?

Realizing my own research in Indigenous Methodologies and decolonial efforts in research and at the university level, meant, I had a role to play. Seeing the lack of expertise in this area made me want to offer my support more. Additionally holding space to share knowledge with all learners wanting to learn about Indigenous Methodologies was aligned with what and how I had taught, as a qualified educator. Holding space meant being respectful to the voices and stories that made up my research: Indigenous youth, Indigenous Mothers, Indigenous Fathers, Grandparents, Leadership. Holding respectful space mean chosing the design that would make sense for two things: healing & building creatively and story sharing, that could move towards influencing design or future work and projects. Holding space for me was about being accountable to my relationships, to the mothers who I felt kinship relations to.

One area my work has focussed upon is social justice. When social justice became too much, I turned to methodologies that made sense for the issues and areas, and personal experiences, as well as doing and being respectful to the lived experiences of those I work with. Evaluating to ensure the way I worked with the Elders was respectful, engaging and thoughtful was how I worked. Respect as Design was a way I felt was always important, and following protocol. There was no other way to design my work with the Elders where my role was more like Granddaughter- Scholar-Artist-Friend. My experiences with the Elders whose presence was so important to me and ensuring things were done correctly, in a culturally ethical way.

Ensuring respectful ways are also followed with learners and those I have worked with means I follow not only my heart, but I never leave that behind. My heart is at the centre of my work. Because of this I ensure that spaces I work in suit my work, like a surgeon or an other expert needs a space or a lab, to work in that can help support relationships, connection and healing as well as transformation. Yesterday when I came across from the University of Calgary which speaks to the necessity of proper learning spaces that value and are respectful to the learners:
Fluid classrooms: The importance of flexible learning spaces .

This aligns itself greatly with my business and me wanting to ensure spaces reflect that need for comfort, and healing when engaging in critical. Dr. Poitras writes:

“Her research into teaching difficult subjects in that type of classroom helped design the graduate class being taught in the bright and airy Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. “Students have the freedom to sit and reflect on the stairs or mull things over with peers in the hanging pods. They have all kinds of places to go on their own or sit with someone,” says Poitras Pratt. “Students need to be able to step away from what can be emotionally intensive work.”

She writes:

Open, naturally lit spaces can make it easier to discuss difficult topics.

As well as having abundant natural light, the space is abundantly flexible. The walls, technology and furniture can be easily and quickly moved to suit the subject matter – theories of decolonization in the morning and creative expression in the afternoon. “We transform the space all the time,” she says

When I approach my work from a consulting base, space becomes a huge consideration.

From my angle as an Indigenous Educator, Consultant and mother, going outdoors and finding Learning Sites on the Land is the most ideal. The one thing I have seen is the desire to Indigenize spaces, especially the ones we frequent so they truly become alive with our stories and experiences, and not in a dominant manner but in a way that makes sense for our children and our families, but also importantly to facilitate healing and relationship building.

Finding places that have and hold good vibes, are safe for the learners and accommodate needs of those I am working with. Better, finding natural light and beautiful studio like places to work in. Or, best, travelling to the site location and working with current spaces. My preference though are like any practitioner or teacher would want: an ideal learning location and site that matches the outcomes and learning that will take place.

Reciprocity

Having reciprocity is as much as receiving reciprocity. Critical thinker and researcher, bell hooks writes:


When we choose to love, we choose to move against fear, against alienation and separation. The choice to love is a choice to connect, to find ourselves in the other.
Bell Hooks

Working from an angle of love in sharing Indigenous Knowledge is about knowing the knowledge keepers, respecting the value that parents bring as experts with so many diverse gifts of knowledge. We carry so many titles. Reciprocity is that recognition. To be continued.

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Indigenous Land Based Program in Northern Ontario, wonderful!!!

 

I attended this high school, so its incredibly great to see this addition to their program. Way to go!!!

“I think one of my main goals is to get these kids as much certifications and knowledge as they can, to those sort of outdoor industries. If they take advantage of that, awesome, and if they don’t take advantage of it, it doesn’t hurt anyone to have their chainsaw awareness living up here in Northern Ontario.”

 

I’d like to add in, learning outdoors and on the Land is also about a feeling, a place, of connecting. Being immersed into the spaces for all that they teach us. Being intuitive on the Land. Writing poetry even, singing, connecting can take place in so many ways.

 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/marathon-high-school-indigenous-course-1.4902694?fbclid=IwAR0B9Cy_YgaYs2kDwqkU6fvRnvIulBd9L8XRUVQKqLCL3elw1YJ119m3U5w

 

 

Indigenous Youth, Land & Art

I came across this interview which describes first hand how youth from the Thunder Bay area were involved in a residency program through the Thunder Bay Art Gallery involving art and Land Connection. Through expression. Through renewal. Though art making. Through shared moments and experiences. Space to talk, etc. I think what is important is making the space, and giving opportunity to express, with historical contexts,

beSuperior offers their first Online Course

This four week online course will take place on a Facebook Group called Courageously Resilient which is about understanding resiliency, and why it is important.

Being resilient and learning about vulnerability as a source of strength as it comes from your most authentic self.

What and how to become aligned & stay aligned, Self Care & Land Connection.

This is beneficial for entrepreneurs, leaders, and learners of all kinds.

This mastermind will include pdf worksheets for participants, reflective journalling prompts and a place to a zoom session for one hour for each Module. One on one through facebook messanger for the duration of this program upon scheduled request.

We will also meet up on scheduled dates on Zoom.

This online course is developed to reach an online audience to reach as many people as possible in a safe repective manner.

Here is the link: Courageously, Resilient

#Approvals #Gifts #Worth #SelfWorth

Being  courageous is hard enough in a world that sets judgement calls on how you look, what you wear, who your are and possibly sends messages about your value. Remembering that your self worth is your everything.

Remembering our role as teachers and leaders that everyone has a space and needs to be respected for their individuality.

Your Are Sacred ‘Last Jedi’ actress Kelly Marie Tran breaks silence about online harassment

your approval.png

Planning for your future


Living in the past is so not a good way to be. Many of us can get stuck in the past. I know that I have lived in the past ALOT. Dreaming about other places. Better places. Getting stuck in your head is not a good thing but maybe a way to sort out being unstuck.

When I plan for my future, I honour my choices. I honour my ability to CHOOSE where I want to be.

  • I can make that shift to be a better more focussed person.
  • I can implement simple change into my life, even MOFO baby steps help one to get unstuck.

We all have a WHY? A why and an ability to figure out what that WHY means and is.  John Maxwell writes in Intentional Living, about the great WHY? His first question is, What makes you cry.  What deeply disturbs you?  What causes you discomfort?

Maxwell adds is Question 2: What do you sing about? What makes you joyous? What brings your heart content?  Giving yourself time and space to feel joy, is necessary. One of my joys i love metaphysics, and the universe. I am also inspired by pop culture. I love music.  What do you sing about? Are you a wonderer, or a wanderer. What is it you are looking for?  Maybe you are a deep girl, seek truths and simply, want to know.  Knowing what you sing about is part of figuring out how to lay down your now.

Question 3: What do you dream about? Living a life that matters is perhaps one of the greatest goals. Question like “What skills do I have to help others?”, What does my soul crave”, “How can your unique worldview and spark, inspire, help, build?”

Possible ways to help you in your journey:

How can I express my answers in a peaceful and joyful way?

How do I also inspire others?

What and where can I make these shifts in my life?

Where is my tribe, my team, my alliance?

When I feel it in my heart, where is this place?

Describe the place, and be in the places that serve you to know that higher purpose. 

As for the future, laying out the straight up questions first, than make an effort to stay informed on your area, and field. Build a platform, or portfolio. Place yourself where your heart wants to be.  

The best thing about planning for your future, is choice. The choice is yours alone, for up levelling, upshifting and being there.  

Showing up is the first step. 

 

Theatre Thoughts

EM“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”
William Shakespeare, As You Like

Years ago i read about popular theatre as developed by Augusto Boal, Brazilian dramatist. I learned about Boal, and I learned about other’s as well but he stood out.

The concept is theatre is used to show, a story- the main oppressive story, usually in random locations, where others would not even suspect it was theatre. Then truths are unveiled in the the theatrical performance. So where ever you are you could use that theatre to share a message based on mirroring that issue as well as solution, esp in the case of liberation, and to express that story, by using the platform of theatre.
The point to develop dialogue b.w the audience and performer, which I think could be useful in so many ways, Problem solving, highlight feelings where difficult topics exist, building trust, building relationships, sharing stories, etc.
Why this came to mind? Maybe more opportunity to do random theatre of the oppressed in my work? Maybe, this live action would also help those experiencing stories that are need light and life, a place. This could apply to numerous situations and themes. Theatre can be brought in to expose stories, in any context really. Maybe we should all be doing more theatre? Maybe it could teach us something.
One of my fav. classes which I think of often is a theatre class i took in university. In fact, I took two one year, one mainstream and one Indigenous that were both in theatre. Both professors amazing.  The mainstream professor Steve, was this very relaxed professor., I feel he used to come in from the University of Toronto to Peterborough. The Indigenous theatre class was led by Edna Manitowabi, a professor I admired so much in university who had so much to share and add to my life. I remember her expressions in theatre, her singing and her gifts that she share with me, and that recently she was also featured in Indian Horse. She looks so amazing in her role in the movie, I have to still see it.
I also took theatre in high school and was never a super brave actress, in fact, often did sideline stuff. I never was featured in the main stories. Did I ever want to? Maybe if there was content that I related to. In high school I was more of the student who was trying to figure out things especially in relation to social injustice? I’d be worried about climate change, war, environmental themes, other major themes. I realized I was pretty empathic to concerns at a young age, in fact, I felt things deep. It was art that gave me that space to express those feelings: I would find myself in literature as well. Characters. Stories. The main point is theatre was a good energy in my life.
When I took theatre training in university, Steve would get us all  moving immediately. Our class was set in this very amazing theatre space in downtown Peterborough, not your usual sitting lecture style. (Can I tell you how bored I was in sit down lecture style classes of 200 students, can I say nap History 101) When in Steve’s class, he’d come in  he’d be doing various interesting activities. We’d be encouraged to be barefoot, feel the stage, move around to various tempos, as part of the warming up activities. The two hours we spend together weekly was always intriguing, and upbeat. It was engaging and interesting in a deeper way of thinking, I had not experienced in any of my learning. We’d take our theatre with us whoever we went. We’d find spaces to do our theatre in the city, which was not that big, but exciting nontheless. Theatre was like a saving grace to act out and experience life differently.  For Edna’s class, we were in a room on the main campus. It was a different experience, and also a place where I felt transformation and good vibes. We’d experience many stories together. I was truly honoured to have those experiences.
Steve and Edna were such intriguing professors, much like healers.  I had a friend who I took this with and it was really important as we took the class very seriously. We used drama in a different way maybe to act out and express the harder topics we contended with around racism, as well.  Theatre helped me like no other b/c I was assaulted in my second year of university and being a survivor of that, was a super hard and impactful so the theatre helped to gain confidence again, and find that creative vibe, feeling supported, good vibe, healing type learning program etc. Theatre most definitely was my healer and something I think is and should be a part of my daily life.
Theatre is interesting for healing purposes because it takes your creative story, and moves it into something alive, three dimensional. I think healing is something that transcends onto all corner of our lives. We can feel stuck at times but we have to remember things that worked for us. Sometimes too we get stuck, we get pigeon holed, we get placed, in the narrative of the other. Removing yourself from that place is important.
I am glad I had the theatre thought this morning. Its made me remember how much theatre has been an old friend.
Incorporating theatre into my work, would be an ideal concept. often wonder how I could use theatre in my current practice? Is there a way? How could I. How could popular theatre help to discuss bigger narratives that we see and deal with? How much of me, would benefit from theatre again? Is theatre a shift I need in my life as much as something I can use to help support others. Maybe time for me to explore theatre again.  here are some theatre links and I will also upload them to the resources on this page. Theatre though, so much about the audiences and population you work with as to how effective theatre can be. Theatre for me was a place that helped me facilitate deep discussion on topics, or helped me to learn more deeply.  I’d hope to one day be able to do that work in a cool studio or lecture hall.  Learning is never about just sitting there.
“The stage is a magic circle where only the most real things happen, a neutral territory outside the jurisdiction of Fate where stars may be crossed with impunity. A truer and more real place does not exist in all the universe.”
P.S. Baber, Cassie Draws the Universe
“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”
Oscar Wilde