The idea that Kumashiro is presenting in this article is that the idea of common sense is what you “should” be doing or teaching. This idea of what “should” be taught is based on the ideas of teachers and the society. This is based upon the understanding of what is supposed to be happening rather than just what the individual teacher believes. This can have positives and negatives in my opinion. I think that it can be beneficial to have the ideas of the teachers to be similar as to not have such stark differences between schools and teachers, but sometimes, as Kumashiro said about their time in Nepal, it can be challenging because what the differences that you want to bring in, are seen as strange. I know that there are many unique ideas that I have for my future classroom and for when I am teaching swimming lessons now (this is my job). If I was told that trying these new things would be wrong, I think that I would really struggle with that idea. As much as I think that it is important to grow and try new things, the idea of listening to the “common sense” is just as important. The common sense is obviously there for a reason and the reason might be because of hardships in that area, the way they have previously been educated and other important points that might not seem so clear on the surface. Either way, I think the idea of common sense is something that I am really looking forward to learning more about and how to challenge the idea of common sense but also work with the ideas of common sense and the ideas of the common sense of the schools I will be working at.
To finish off ECCU 400, I created a video to talk about my miskâsowin journey. Here is the video and the script.
(I had just gotten a filling when I filmed so please ignore that)
My Miskasowin process has been a journey into who I thought I was before, who I am becoming and how different aspects of my life have come to affect who I am and who I am going to be. My decision at the beginning of the semester was to dive deep into my family history and learn more about where I am from and how that affects who I am as a person. I learned a lot about my heritage and the people who have helped shape me into who I am today. My moms side of the family was a lot more open about the history and telling their story whereas my dads side was a bit less. Part of that is because my grandma, who was the one who had most of the family history, recently moved into a motorhome full time and had to send some of the books to other family members so they are scattered now. I always knew that I considered myself to be Ukrainian and Canadian. I spent a lot of time reflecting on what it meant to be a Canadian and learning more about my Ukrainian heritage. That is what brought me to making braided bread. For my visual, I decided to create a setting of a table. For me, this relates to my understanding of bonding over food and also because I think it relates to one of the course themes, expanding the circle, which I believe I will do over food. I represented myself as a Canadian and Ukrainian but also represented the University of Regina because I think that is an important part of my journey as that is where I am learning a lot and I also represented a medicine wheel to represent the Indigenous peoples of Canada. All of these things are groups that have affected me and my learning of who I am as a person. My blog helped me to explore these ideas and come to a deeper understanding of who I am. I struggled with come up with the concept as I could much easier talk about my thoughts but the process is part of me learning and I think it was great for me to learn from. This process meant a lot to me and I cant wait to continue my learning. I think this was a great way to kickstart my treaty education and helped me to realize how I can help place the 10 principles into action as a treaty partner.
I think that treaty education can look different depending on what setting you are in and that treaty education will never look exactly the same. The difference in conversations that I had with different people was quite different than any other person and that is because the knowledge they already have and their openness to learn is different than any other person who was at the event. I think that for this reason, there will always be changes in how treaty education is talked about in different settings. I think that the key principles (truth, justice, reconciliation, decolonization, indigenization) will be the same and will need to be talked about in either situation, but the way we talk about them will be different. These ideas -truth, justice, reconciliation, decolonization, indigenization- are such important things to talk about within Canadians society so I think that no matter what situation you are in when talking about treaty education, they will be the same, just the way they are talked about will be changed. I think that is one of the biggest things that I learned from this treaty event. I had four guests and even from just speaking with each of them after the event, they all took something different away from the event and the things that they were hearing. I think that was really valuable for me to have those conversations with people at the event to practice what it might be like to have conversations with people about treaty. I think that this was an important event and I am glad that I was a part of it. But in the same breath of saying that, I think that what has been on my mind the most is the question of how it would be different with children. Everyone at that event was an adult and I know that children and teens react a lot different than children. I wonder as I am getting to be closer to be in the field what it would be like to have this kind of event and these discussions with children instead of adults. I know that adults are often open and know a lot because they know the news and similar stories or maybe they even know someone, but will children be the same? No, I highly doubt it will even be similar. And I wonder just how different it will be.
Last Saturday was the second field trip for ECCU 400 and it was wonderful. This week we went to Fort Qu’appelle and Labret to have a treaty experience and talk more about treaties. The experience was really great and I learned lots about Treaty, even when I felt like I already learned lots. I always seem to be put into my place. I am really feeling that I will learn more even in the last couple weeks of class. The trip was great because we got to visit Treaty 4 land and I think one of the most beneficial things that I got to do was the smudge and pipe ceremony. I think that this was great because I had never really heard about the pipe ceremony. The pipe ceremony was great. I felt somewhat bad because the smoke bothered my lungs and I had to leave shortly after, but the ceremony itself I got to experience and it was a great piece of ceremony that I got to experience. Other than that, the other activities that we got to do was awesome! I really enjoyed the museum as well. The Museum in Labret is one that I have never been to before and I found it so interesting. I think that the reason that I really love museums is because of the history! I am a huge history buff so it was wonderful to see the differences of Museums in the cities and out in smaller towns. I think that it was wonderful and I am happy that it was something that I got to do. This field trip was great and I think it was great for my miskâsowin process. I learned a lot about myself in relation to these subjects and people and I think that it was great to think about it afterwards. I haven’t quite even fully processed what I experienced but I really think that it was a good thing to experience.
This week I really want to talk more about residential schools and the impact that I have had in relation to residential schools in the past week. Between the trip to the grave site and my choice project, I have been thinking lots about residential schools and my place in regards to them. I will be completely honest, while doing my choice project, I was almost brought to tears multiple times and I struggled with doing the assignment that I set out to do because I was getting very emotional about what I was working at. I decided to write a lesson plan and then talk about the resource that I was using and I thought that it would be good since I had already read “The Secret Path” by Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire and owned it. But once I started working more at my project I got very emotional while rereading it after the field trip and struggle at writing the lesson plan because the Saskatchewan curriculum for History 30 is almost laughable and has not been updated since 1997. This seems like a big problem for me and I struggled with most aspects of this assignment. I didn’t think that these things were affecting me, but as I am beginning to work with the ideas, I am realizing that they really are affecting me and I don’t know how to feel and work through that. I am really finding that this is affecting my miskâsowin process and I am working through how to deal with this idea of being a settler and having the residential schools as something that affects me and having to teach it in the future. I am honestly not sure how to go about feeling what I am feeling and am just hoping that I can discuss it some more with peers and teachers and friends and that maybe it will be something that I can come to terms with a little more. At this point I am just keeping going with what I need to do until I can truly unpack what I am thinking and can get to a place where I can share how I am feeling with others. I don’t like admitting that I am struggling or did struggle with something, but I did struggle with the concepts this week.
I think that this is something that I struggle with a bit. I feel like I am not big enough to make a difference and that what ways that I take up the Principles of Truth and Reconciliation won’t matter because I am just one person and that the impact I make is so small. I really want to challenge that with my miskåsowin process. I think that often I like to stay in my nice little safe bubble that doesn’t really get uncomfortable and I like to stay there, but if I just stay there, then I am not challenging or growing. As a future educator, I want to be able to challenge the norm and push people out of their comfort zone, so I think that first I should do that myself. I want to be able to speak the truth, even if it is a little uncomfortable to admit and I want to work with Indigenous people in my community to continue educating myself and my future students. As our guest speaker said last week, if we only tell the version of history that we are telling currently, then we are telling a falsity to our students. I want to teach history and I want to teach it in a way that is telling the whole story of Canada, not only of the whites. I want to teach others and I want to engage with the Indigenous community. I think that it relates to my understanding of my place in the treaties because if I only believe that it is in the past and that I make no difference, then I am not taking the responsibility for my place as a treaty person like I should. As I learn more about my place in relation to other Indigenous peoples and the treaties, I will be able to speak the truth more freely and know that my actions have consequences and I need to treat everything as though my decisions make an impact because they do. I know that I will have Indigenous students in my classroom in the future and I want to be able to speak the truth for them and for the other non-Indigenous students. Teaching treaty education is not just for the Indigenous students, but for all students, because we are all treaty people. I think that by learning more and accepting being uncomfortable a bit more, then that will allow me to see my place in the treaties and in the Indigenous peoples discussions.
I thought about the idea of what I am hoping to do for my miskâsowin process and I struggled with what I want to do for this process. I think that I am struggling with this because I like to have things being clear for what I need to do. I believe that this is because I have a very Academic and trained point of view. The rest of my university career has been more clear on the outcomes that they wanted and I have been trained throughout my education to know how to please teachers by meeting their criteria. So after thinking about what I wanted to do and talking more, I want to look into my grandmother’s family in the Whitewood area and figure out how they related to the treaties. I know that I have benefited from treaties, especially from this area of my family line, and I want to know how they related to treaties. I also want to look into the Skinner line some more. I know that I am related to Skinner’s, but I am wondering if they are related to the ones that Calvin was talking about. If they are, then I think that I definitely was benefiting.
For the next 5 weeks, this is my plan:
- I want to speak to my granny and ask her about the Skinner’s and draw up a family tree with her.
- I want to then take the family tree and look in some history books to see if I can trace it some more.
- Then I want to visit the Whitewood area and talk to some family from that area and see the areas where my family has lived.
- I want to then take what I have learned and realize how that relates to the treaty, I want to also relate this to the blanket exercise.
- Then I want to write a reflection about it.
For me the blanket exercise was something that I related to a lot and I was really moved by it as it was a new way to think about the treaties. I think that when doing my reflection, this is something that I will relate to and help me figure out my place in the treaties.
I think that by doing this process, it will help me to feel like the white history is not separate from the Indigenous side. I feel like that is how I have been learning things and I want to have that be how I speak my truth. I want to commit to figuring out how to combine the white and Indigenous history into something that isnt lying about either side of the story.
After reading the first section of our textbook, I have come to think about my heritage in some interesting ways and it made me question my own identity a lot more. Thinking about myself, I know that there are terms that I would call myself because of who I am and because of my heritage. I think that if I was to describe myself, I would say that I am a 19 year old white female. I would use the term white not as a negative but because of where my family is from and their heritage. I would also say things like: I am a daughter and a sister. A friend and a girlfriend. I am a teacher and a student. These are terms that I would use to describe myself, but others might have very different terms that they might use to describe me.
My family heritage is something that I have spent some time looking into, but my family is not ones to talk about our heritage and everyone who is alive in my family currently is Canadian and was born in Canada. I am a 3rd generation Canadian. My great great grandparents where the ones who immigrated to Canada so I was not able to meet them and discus my heritage and what it was like to come to Canada. My dads side of the family has ties in Germany, Prussia and Russia. My mothers side is from Ukraine and France and some other undisclosed European countries that my grandmother is not too sure about. My family name, Janssen, is German and would be pronounced as “Yan-sen” but I have always pronounced it like everyone else in my family which is “jan-sen”. I would identify myself as Ukrainian and Canadian. Even though only one side of my family is Ukrainian, it is the side of my family that is discussed and celebrated. I celebrate Ukrainian Christmas and my family takes part in Ukrainian events whereas my fathers side does not explore their German/Prussian/Russian heritage. I am not sure why this is, but it is the reason I would not overly identify as German or Russian unless talking about my heritage.
My family came to Canada fairly early on so they experienced treaties and Indigenous peoples as they were making home in Canada. I do not think that their time and experiences made me a treaty person, but I think that because I am a Canadian person who is living in Canada, that makes me a treaty person. I believe that it is my living as a Canadian that makes me a treaty person and what causes me to have to do my duty as a treaty person.
I know that as I grow up and I am exploring who I am and who I am becoming, that I am learning more about myself and that my labels for what I would call myself are changing so I think that for that reason, miskâsowin is important. If I was to name myself now and describe myself, I would say:
I am Briana Janssen. I am a 19 year old student and teacher. I am a white Canadian with Ukrainian and German heritage. I am a daughter, sister, girlfriend and friend. I am me.
ECCU 400 has begun! I am so excited to begin the spring semester and learn more about Treaty Education. As I am beginning to get closer to teaching Social Studies, I think that it is important that I learn more about Treaty Education so I can teach it in my own classroom in the future.
As I ring in the new year, the beginning of another semester is upon us. This semester is one that will focus a lot on my major as I am beginning to finish up the last few classes that are considered “general study”. I am taking two History Classes, an English Class, Geography Class and ECS 300. The beginning of this semester is one that I am grateful for and I am excited to see where this semester will go as I am about half way done my degree!