Learning the Landmarks

Posted:11 January 2022

Author: Tammy Nischuk, SAIL Strathmore Municipal Library

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Comments: 6

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This week's guest blog post is by Tammy Nischuk. 

Looking outside my window is a winter wonderland of white. Every treetop, roof and street is dusted in snow and the wind has sculpted snowdrifts into magnificent natural artwork. Even though the sky has been bleached of colour and warmth I know that I can look forward to the warm fellowship of the circle at Ask Us Anything about Metis & Indigenous Worldview this February 9th with Lori St. Cyr and Georgina Supernault.Tammy Blog2

I began attending Ask Us Anything about Metis & Indigenous Worldview regularly when it first started in 2020, and I had just started a few months earlier as a Literacy Coordinator in Strathmore in 2019. I really didn't know what to expect at my first session and was simultaneously excited and nervous. However, Lori and Georgina went out of their way to ensure that everyone was aware the opportunity was both a safe space and a place where questions were welcome. I heard things like, "it’s not this way for everyone, but this is my way," and "that's a really good question."

That initial meeting set my personal learning journey around reconciliation into motion. I left feeling positive, curious, and eager to return for more learning. Each time I reconnect I have an opportunity to take away something that assists me in developing both as a person and as a literacy practitioner.

We talk about intensity and duration of instruction for learners and I feel the benefit of regular participation in the group has been time to practice a beginner’s mindset and develop my confidence. This ongoing instruction has helped me build the courage to risk making mistakes and the knowledge to avoid some of my blunders of the past.

Over the past two years I have been able to put some learnings into practice and hosted a National Indigenous Peoples Day event in June of 2021.  It's easy enough to write down that I learned how to take first steps with Elders in my community. It's much more difficult to put into words the associated emotions around building these fledgling relationships.

To paraphrase Lori: "We're all just wandering down a snow-covered path after a blizzard and hoping that we're going in the right direction." From time to time I'm inevitably going to trip and fall face down in the snow because the drifts of my knowledge gaps are still bigger than I realize, but I'm not walking this path without guidance. With the help of CALP opportunities, such as Ask Us Anything about Metis & Indigenous Worldview we have the tools to explore safely and learn what landmarks to look for along the way. I'm hopeful that the future will bring you to the circle too.

Thank you to Lori St. Cyr who invited me to share my experience and reflect along the way. Maybe, one day, I'll graduate to wearing snowshoes!

Tammy Nischuk
Tammy Nischuk, Literacy Coordinator

SAIL | Strathmore Municipal Library

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