Posted:16 June 2020
Author: Lori St.Cyr, Community Learning Network
Did you know that June is National Indigenous History Month, and National Indigenous day is on June 21st?
As we find ourselves in these strange times of a global pandemic, we ourselves are writing our own history. As we rise each day, we are writing our story with every choice we make, with each kindness we show, with each path we take we decide how we behave in this strange time we find ourselves. How will you look back and tell your story of these strange times we are in? You may now find yourself exploring your own backyard and communities in new and different ways.
The First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples of Canada have a beautiful and rich culture and a broken journey with Canada as a whole. We are told of the atrocities that happened to so many of our First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples. Their stories of culture, land, contact, colonization, treaties, residential schools, 60's scoop, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and so many other words and labels are used to describe the relationship and the lived experiences of the Indigenous peoples of Canada. There is much to learn and explore about them. Where do you start to explore and learn about the relationship that Canada has had with the First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples? What is your relationship with our First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples of your community? This is an excellent time to explore and learn about the Indigenous peoples, their communities and history as told by them.
For me being raised in a Metis community, I have always felt a strong connection to my community but I never really explored the history of my area. When I think about my journey of exploration into my own ways of knowing, my culture, my community, I think about where I came from, not only the land I come from but the people I come from. How did I learn about the land, about the stars, the plants and animals? For me it was and is a way of life, a way of being that is in my very DNA, and my blood remembers what I need to know. But there are many people who grew up in a very different way from me, not on the land, not with community or ways of knowing the Metis or First Nations ways.
If you have ever been in a workshop or training with Elders you probably heard these words “We are all treaty people.” What does that mean? For me that means we are all connected to the land, to the water, to the skies and to each other. That we are all responsible to honour the written and the unwritten treaties of our lands. How do we learn about the land, the people and history of the land we reside and work on? You may not know the history of your community or area you work. I invite you to explore and learn one thing about the history or relationship the Indigenous People have had in your area. Remember the First Nations and Metis people were found across Canada, even if they may not be visible today in your community there is most likely history of the First Nations or Metis people. Be brave and seek out knowledge of your own community. Here are some places to start to explore your area or the people of your area.
You can go to your local library, friendship center, Metis Nations office or seek out Indigenous organizations in your area.
I have added a few resources that you may enjoy visiting and learning more about:
Creating safe space for indigenous learners (Portal) https://calp.ca/elearning/?workshop=130&page=18
Growing up Niitsitapii in Canada https://calp.ca/blog/growing-up-niitsitapii-in-canada.htm
The importance of providing safety, kindness and comfort https://calp.ca/blog/the-importance-of-providing-safety-kindness-and-comfort.htm
Dallas Arcand https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niRs_VIqzYU
Social Distance Pow Wow https://summersolsticefestivals.ca/social-distance-pow-wow/
Conway Kootenay – Smudgepan https://www.conwayk.com/
Don Burnstick https://www.donburnstick.com/home/
Where are the children http://wherearethechildren.ca/en/
Who’s land is it https://www.whose.land/en/
How to talk about Indigenous people https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEzjA5RoLv0
Story time with Kookum, Metis nations of Alberta https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLMf5CqErUA&list=PLbqoPJvXJygVUDJUStW5E5G8YznXvMZ3n
Understanding Aboriginal Identity, Bearpaw Media https://youtu.be/IcSnbXmJ9V0
If you would like to explore or have questions I am happy to explore and learn with you. Please feel free to connect with and I would love to walk with you on your journey.
CLN Metis & Indigenous Liasion