Wednesday, February 11, 2015

100 Unsettling Things: Help Me Build a List

Help me build a list of 100 "Unsettling" things.

1. Learn your Treaty #
2. Study a Treaty Map of Canada
3. Read any Treaty between First Nations and the British Crown (Peace and Friendship and the Numbered Treaties).
4. Read the biography of Treaty Commissioner Alexander Morris
5. Examine the Pasqua Pictograph by Chief Ben Pasqua from Treaty 4
6. Listen to testimony (at least three) from the Truth and Reconciliation Tribunal
7. Consider your own history of coming to Canada
8. Ask your MLA his or her stand on Implementing Treaty
9. Ask your MP his or her stand on Implementing Treaty
10. Examine the symbolism on the Treaty Medallion
11. Listen to First Nations leaders discuss Treaty responsibility (Check out Chiefs' Forum on Treaty Implementation 2012 CD
12. Attend the 2015 Treaty 1-11 Gathering
13. Participate in an "Unsettling" conversation
14. Take a Treaty Walk in your home community
15. Go to a pow wow
16. Go to a ceremony when invited
17. Read a book like The Orenda, Indian Horse, Three Day Road
18. Ask a Kindergartener what it means to keep a promise, then apply that wisdom to keeping treaty promises
19. Do inventory on Treaty promises from your side of the handshake: have your Treaty rights been met?
20. Make a list of Treaty promises which you have benefitted from.
21. Consider the impact of broken Treaty on those who were cheated
22. Make a list of broken Treaty promises
23. Advocate for First Nations content within curriculum
24. Consider how you can help indigenize your school curriculum
25. Walk in a march
26. Show solidarity with Treaty partners
27. Read a good article discussing racism in Canada (Winnipeg Free Press, Ottawa Citizen, Regina Leader Post, Maclean's Magazine)
28. Retweet, Facebook, become an ally with Amnesty International Stolen Sisters
29. Research Idle No More
30. Read a good local Thesis: Chauntel Baudu's Anti-Oppressive Education Through English Language Arts: A Recollecting Journey or Tamara Smith's An Unsettling Journey: White Settler Women Teaching Treaty in Saskatchewan
31. Join an anti-racism coalition
32. Try "The Blanket Exercise" from Kairos
33. Contact Prairie Valley School Division and order "Kitoskayiminawak Pikiskwewak: Our Young People Speak -- The Holistic Edition"
34. Thank an Indigenous friend for sharing the land.
35. Rethink the building of Canada through the Treaty lens
36. Dream! How could Treaty be fully implemented within my lifetime
37. Contact Chief Acoose to see if you can contribute to Bringing the Treaty 4 Medal home
38. Raise money to build memorial at Lebret Residential School
39. Attend a memorial at a Residential School Cemetery
40. Attend a feast or funeral when invited
41. Learn about the Indian Act
42. Follow activists on Twitter
43. Watch 8th Fire with Wab Kinew
44. Learn basic tipi teachings
45. Consider how Canada might change if Settler Descendants considered First Nations peoples' as relatives
46. Consider where you stand on stereotypes like Pocahontas and Indigenous Mascots
47. Order "100 Years of Loss: The Residential School System in Canada" free from the Legacy of Hope Foundation
48. Check out Stephen Harper's apology:
49. Read "So You've Just Decided You're Not Okay with Unbalanced Treaty Implementation"
50. Read "So You've Just Found Out You're a Treaty Person"
51. Learn about the Royal Proclamation of 1763
52. Attend a SAFE conference in Saskatchewan or join this Special Subject Council
53. Check out UofR Education initiatives
54. Read Paulette Regan's Unsettling the Settler Within: Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling and Reconciliation in Canada

Regan (2010): "...without this unsettling, little will change" (p.19).
Unsettling the Settler Within:
Indian Residential Schools, Truth Telling, and Reconciliation in Canada  by Paulette Regan
In 2008 the Canadian government apologized to the victims of the notorious Indian residential school system, and established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission whose goal was to mend the deep rifts between Aboriginal peoples and the settler society that engineered the system.  
In Unsettling the Settler Within, Paulette Regan, a former residential-schools-claims manager, argues that in order to truly participate in the transformative possibilities of reconciliation, non-Aboriginal Canadians must undergo their own process of decolonization. They must relinquish the persistent myth of themselves as peacemakers and acknowledge the destructive legacy of a society that has stubbornly ignored and devalued Indigenous experience. With former students offering their stories as part of the truth and reconciliation processes, Regan advocates for an ethos that learns from the past, making space for an Indigenous historical counter-narrative to avoid perpetuating a colonial relationship between Aboriginal and settler peoples.

55. Consider Settler mourning: (Thanks Val!)


  1. Check out this Settler Grieving metaphor

  2. Recognize that naming was and still is part of the process of colonization. Be critical and aware of the names of things around you.

    Seek out historical truths surrounding the names of things (streets, buildings, etc.) in your local area. For example, if you live in Regina and/or have ever driven down Dewdney Avenue, do you you know much about the history of Edgar Dewdney?

    1. Thanks for this, Tamara! In Fort Qu'Appelle we have four parallel streets: Hudson, Bay, Company, Boundary. There's a research project!

  3. Here are my thoughts:
    1. See the Witness Blanket or at least visit the website and watch the video and read the news articles. (
    2. Participate in the Project of Heart or visit a school that has. (
    3. Send a Have a Heart Valentine to Prime Minister Harper (
    4. Watch the Horizon School Division's We Are All Treaty People video
    5. Then make your own We Are All Treaty People video (
    6. Read the 'Inconvenient Indian' by Thomas King and 'Clearing the Plains' by James Daschuk
    7. Talk to an 8 year-old about the Columbus story and enjoy their complete disbelief that an adult could make such colossal mistakes
    8. Have a discussion about the name of the Washington NFL football team and talk about "honouring" aboriginal peoples with sports names
    9. Follow the twitter hashtag #treatyed
    10. Have ten conversations in which you refer to yourself as a settler (if applicable)... throw in "unsettled" for extra points

    1. Claire these are so helpful and we're that much closer to 100. I remember when I started trying on the settler was unsettling.

  4. Learn about White Privilege.(
    Look at a Treaty monument and think about the story it is telling.
    Learn about the Medicine Wheel
    Listen to an Elder.

    Sidenote: Chauntel Baudu was my co-operating teacher in my internship! She is awesome.

    1. Dani, these are such important additions. Thank you. I'm planning on reading Chauntel's thesis soon.

  5. I think learning about the land is really important. Spend time on the land. Build a relationship with the land and learn from the land. Learn about the place names before they were re-branded with colonial English or French names. What do the original names tell us about the land we live on? Read Keith Basso's book Wisdom Sits in Places and talk to Elders about the land...while on the land!

    LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN. There is so much to learn from all of the amazing people around you. Build a network of people and have conversations with them about Treaty education and Anti-Racist/Anti-Oppressive practices.

    Look at your own settler history (if you are a settler) and look at the privileges/opportunities presented to your ancestors and yourself that were directly denied to others.

  6. Nicole, so good to hear your thoughts. You are one of those "amazing people around you" that I learn from regularly.

  7. Work at being an ally. Dr. Lynn Gehl's work is very helpful if you want to know more about what it can mean to be an ally:

    ALWAYS be open to learning more. There are many amazing resources, whether it's people, books, lectures, etc. Dr. Shauneen Pete once talked about accepting these opportunities to learn as gifts. Be thankful for the gifts.

    Unsettling is a journey and it doesn't necessarily have an "end point." Try to respect that all people are at different places on their journey. In her thesis, Susan Lang argues that we need to reframe the way we respond to others who are at different places in their journey; reframing is the process of “…finding the opportunity to support change, in any given situation, rather than being part of the negativity. It involves the ability to shed the common reaction of being offended, or being judgmental, towards someone else’s ignorance or cultural inappropriateness” (p.114).

  8. Tamara, I think I'll make a poster with Susan Lang's quote on it and hang it in my classroom. This is the exact teaching I need to explore at this point in my unsettling journey (in which I am no where near my "end point"). I heard Dr. Pete talk about accepting the gift that is being offered. What a beautiful way to address systemic inequality. Dr. Pete obviously understands and practices the spirit of Susan Lang's quote.

  9. Thanks for the great comments everyone. I'm at 84 on my list toward 100 Unsettling things. Just 16 to go! Feel free to add more; or, get a friend to add a few.

  10. After asking for unsettling help on facebook, we're now way over 100. I'll post the entire unsettling list later this week. Thanks for your vision and your actions.

  11. Listen to an indigenous woman tell about her children's experiences in education.
    Listen for the threads of outsider status, racism and colonialism in education.
    Ask, whether FN student's and families feel welcomed in their classrooms, in their schools, then think about ways to improve that relationship.
    Go watch a First Nations student's hockey game.
    Find out about etiquette at round dances and pow wows, or ceremonies in the community, and show up. Bring your blanket, shake hands and sit with a family from your school.
    Have separate engagement meetings with First Nations families or school community council meetings, so that their voices and concerns aren't lost amongst the loud privileged and white families.
    Sit with FN families and LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN. Don't redirect, and say, I'm not sure that's true.... Think, this is their thoughts feelings and knowledge, and it's a gift, what you do with it, is your work. :)
    -Just a few ideas rolling in my head, that I had found were helpful. Good luck Sheena

    1. I'll add these to the list, Michelle. Your experience and articulate suggestions are so helpful. Watch for a post later this week compiling the Unsettling list to date.