Learning from each other Blog #4

I was part of seminar 1 on the Treaties in Canada.  In preparation for the seminar my understandings Treaties was deepened.  Through my other classes on my journey to be a teacher I came to understand I was a treaty person because I live on land that was acquired through Treaty 4 and I still benefit from that treaty.  The deeper understanding came from Tammy’s comparison of the treaties being like a marriage covenant rather than a contract.  The covenant made sense to me because when the Indigenous nations came to negotiate the treaties, they believed that their Creator was part of that treaty and that the Creator owned the land.  Therefore, the land was not theirs to give, but to share.  Much like in good marriage, you aren’t expected to give your identity away but to share yourself with your partner and work together to build something great.  The other thing that created deeper meaning was listening to Pam Palmater’s talk on section 35 of the Constitution Act of 1982.  That section affirms and acknowledges the treaty rights.  However, as we move forward, that section is repeatedly ignored, and treaty rights get stampeded time and again.  We keep getting further away from reconciliation each time the treaty rights are ignored and trampled on.  I thought at first, naively, the 94 calls to action would solve the issues between the white people and Indigenous people in Canada, I see now we have a long way to go.

Seminar 2 was a presentation on Missing and Murder Aboriginal Women and Children.  I thought the group who presented did a great job of presenting such a tough topic.  It was a topic that generated a lot of discussion.  I had mixed feeling about the activity of creating a faceless doll to represent a missing woman.  One of the things that really bothered me about these dolls, not just in class, but the whole movement is that these women aren’t faceless.  I think that it is very disrespectful to the women themselves, and to their families.  I remember a case of an Indigenous woman who had been murdered, and the media kept referring to the woman as the victim never using her name.  I remember the family being on the media and saying her name at every opportunity because they felt she deserved to be known by her name not as just some faceless  woman.  I don’t remember who the victim was because it was 20 or more years ago.  I do remember how important it was to her family that her name be known.  Because of this instance I feel those faceless dolls are disrespectful to that family and all others.  As we talked about in our circle when we know someone’s name we enter into a relationship with them.  I also felt uncomfortable and guilty after making the doll.  My doll was in my mind skimpily dressed.  It wasn’t intentional, I am just bad a judging size.  However, because of the badly sized clothing on the doll I felt that I was perpetuating a stereotypical image of the women.  I hated the thought that if someone other than my class was to see this doll that the image of the women being prostitutes would be front and center.  Many of the missing women worked as prostitutes yes but they were so much more than job they did.   I really appreciated that group took the time to debrief the activity and make us think if the activity was valuable in the classroom.  I do not think it is.


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