Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day One Hundred Fifty Four: Pause for a Three-Point Thesis

Walking to work with Sue Bland this morning who drove up my lane, parked her car, and joined me. She shows me her pin from the Truth and Reconcilliation Council hearings, waves in a circle representing the seven teachings. She says the TRC Hearing in Fort Qu'Appelle May 14th and 15th will represent the teaching of Truth. Later in the day we have The Canada Show live at high school stage. I post pages 43 to 45 from my 2006 Thesis: Blue Eyes Remembering Toward Anti-Racist Pedagogy.
Pause for Three-point Thesis
Blue Eyes Remembering Toward Anti-racist Pedagogy is a white woman teacher’s memory montage as she journeys toward anti-racist education. Blue Eyes signifies her whiteness and subsequent privilege within Canadian mainstream society. Remembering Toward poses the ambiguity of acting in the present, informed by the past and moving toward the future. Anti-racist Pedagogy is both a goal and a process. Anti-racism being the struggle against privilege and power awarded on the basis of race, a sister-illness to all Anti-oppression. Pedagogy being the act of walking with students, leading toward the teaching. Through a variety of stories, poems and memory work, she does the following:
1.                          Re-sights a painful learning sequence which started at a conference;
2.                          Remembers teaching moments from her “on” reserve days; and
3.                          Retells racial stereotyping from her first young adult novel. 
The author re-sights a 1999 presentation she gave at the Diversity Conference in the Saskatoon Bessborough Hotel. “The keynote speaker… had begun late because the hoop dancers had started late because the round dance had continued longer than expected. I’m scheduled to present at , but I can’t walk out on this visionary educator from British Columbia. Everyone coming to my session will be here too, so they’ll understand why I’m not early.” They don’t understand. A shape poem interrupts, “what happened to the playful plan.” The emotional revisiting and “Re-order-ing the Massacre” brings a definition of racism, longing for home, disruption, “novel thoughts”, disclaimer, meltdown and a poem “H      e      a      r      t      Bleeding Liberal.” Conference chaos gives way to classroom chaos.
            The author remembers teaching moments in a community 700 miles north of home which brings cross-cultural reading: teacher to student, student to teacher; Dene to white, white to Dene; colleague to colleague. A constructed narrative reveals education and scholarship in simply complicated inter-action within the classroom. Cross-culture relationships from non-fiction inform fiction.
            A retelling occurs as the author remembers her days teaching on the reserve, while she is finishing final edits on her first young adult novel, Voice of the Valley. She realizes that the novel spans the exact timeline of her remembering. In fact, the novel is like a diary of awareness regarding stereotyping, whiteness, and racism in the context of a young adult audience. Narrative as teacher?
            Re-sight-ing, remembering and retelling are parts of the whole. The story neither begins nor ends at their borders.
Carolyn Heilbrun suggests that we don’t imitate lives, we live ‘story lines.’ The process of rereading one’s work and situating it in historical and biographical contexts reveals old story lines, many of which may not have been articulated. Voicing them offers the opportunity to rewrite them, to renarrativize one’s life. Writing stories about our ‘texts’ is thus a way of making sense of and changing our lives. (Richardson, 1997, p. 5)
However, these parts are a beginning of sorts. The author wishes to extend into further research, further findings. Perhaps continue her memory work by submitting a non-fiction book proposal to a publisher. Then, writing a book.

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