Sunday, July 31, 2016

What would our Tommy think of the Medicine Chest Clause?

I was going through old pictures
and I found these two
taken in 2013
over three years ago
when Moira and I sat in emergency
at the General hospital
thankful for our medical system,
for Tommy Douglas and universal health care.
Today I am mindful
that in 1876
visionary Indigenous leaders
negotiated hard to include
the Treaty Six medicine chest clause
conceptualizing universal health care as a Treaty right.
I wonder what our Tommy would think
of the Medicine Chest clause
or if he realized that universal health care
had already been made sacred
when the pipes were raised
and if we had accepted the gifts
of sharing this land as brothers, as sisters
our peoples' healthcare would have been
one hundred years ahead.
I wonder today what other sacred concepts
sacred gifts, sacred ways of being, sacred relationships
we are trying to re-create
which those visionaries of old
already set in place for us.
Note. On Father's Day, 2016, we met for supper
in Weyburn, Treaty Four Territory.
Moira, Victoria, and Tyler drove up from the farm at Macoun.
Arwen, Michael and I drove from Fort Qu'Appelle.
Afterwards, we had a little family photo shoot with TC Douglas
who is not only the Greatest Canadian, he is also Weyburn's most famous son,
(not to mention Keifer Sutherland's Grandfather, but that's a story for someone else's blog.)
Note. When I say "our Tommy" I do this with great pride.
Grandpa and Grandma Bailey called him by  name.
Grandpa Bailey ran for the newly morphed NDP in Assiniboine
in that fear-crazed spring before the July Saskatchewan Doctors' Strike,
protesting the implementation of the "Saskatchewan Medical Care Bill".
1962 G.E. – June 18

Hazen Robert Argue ......................................................................................... Lib 7739

Lawrence Watson ............................................................................................. PC 7386

Cecil T. Bailey ................................................................................................... NDP 5153

Daryl David Rumble .......................................................................................... SC 1009

Here's Tommy and my Moira,
back to where this blog post began.
I do wonder what our Tommy would think of the Medicine Chest Clause?

Saturday, July 30, 2016

How Many Places in Canada are Named Fort Something?

Can you help me build a list?

How many places in Canada are named Fort Something?

I'm guessing there are sixty-three places named Fort Something. (I have done zero research, so if I'm right, you'll have to just believe me.)

And just for fun, where have you lived in Canada with Fort in the name?

I've lived just outside of Fort Qu'Appelle since 2003.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Coming Together at the Table for #treaty4gathering

Save the dates, September 12-18, is the 30th Annual Treaty Four Gathering #treaty4gathering and September 15th will be the 142nd anniversary of the 1874 signing of Treaty Four.

All Treaty peoples are welcome to attend.

I am already looking forward to many of the opportunities including a feast on Monday; forums (chiefs', elders', and citizens') on Tuesday to Thursday; Students' activities Tuesday to Thursday; a career fair on Wednesday; Amateur Hour Wednesday evening; Dry Dance on Thursday evening; Treaty Four parade on Saturday morning; and of course the Powwow on Saturday and Sunday.

Thank you Tracy Pasqua for bringing us together and for all the hard work you are doing, along with your committee, making sure that the gathering is once again, an exceptional community event.

I am thrilled to be a Treaty partner preparing for this year's gathering. I am honoured to sit at the table with Tracy, Michelle, Valerie, Corinne, Carol, Curtis and Judy.

Like the Treaty 4 Gathering on Facebook.

Stay tuned for more details to come in the next six weeks. 45 more sleeps.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Out Driving with Keitha

"So what's up?" Keitha says, leaning into the open window on the passenger side of my little, red car.  Her long grey-silver hair is pulled away from her face and clipped with a beautifully beaded feather. She is wearing a cotton shirt, with flowing flowers and a long, grey sleeveless cardigan.

"Should we go for a drive?" I say.

"Sure." Keitha opens the car door.

"Your hair is so beautiful," I say. "I love the colours in your shirt, too."

Keitha sits beside me. "People are nicer to me when I'm beautiful," she says.

I laugh, and then laugh harder. Keitha grins and then giggles.

"I'm not feeling very beautiful," I say.

"You are beautiful," Keitha says.

We laugh some more as I pull out from her house.

This is a typical conversation between Keitha and me. I don't understand why we make each other laugh, I am just thankful for this gift.

We had been planning to attend an Outreach board meeting, but when it was cancelled, we move on to Plan B, go for a drive.

We have another good giggle in the Tim Horton's drive thru when I think I've already paid with my Tim's card and there is $1.55 remaining, but it's actually that there is only $1.55 remaining, which won't pay for our coffees, so I still have to pay.

Then, we start driving for Katepwa, and I'm driving slowly, listening to some of Keitha's dreams for our Community Outreach. A year ago, I had agreed to serve as Vice President when Keitha had agreed to be the President. For our next meeting I have been researching "Strategic Planning", and I tell Keitha that her dreams will lead us.

We sit on the bench at the edge of Katepwa Lake beach. There is a slight breeze; the sun is lower in the sky, sending golden light; kids are playing in the water; a mother and daughter are digging in the sand; families are out for walks on pathways through the green grass.

Keitha tells me about finishing Thomas King's Medicine River and how Coyote is her favourite character, making trouble, making fun. I read the book so long ago, I'm thinking it's about Cree or Salteaux people, but Keitha reminds me that it is Blackfoot from Alberta. I tell her that I'm still reading King's The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America. Keitha was hoping I'd be finished because she wants to read it next.

We talk about writing, forgiving ourselves, sharing our stories, helping others, old friends, our families, and then Keitha says, "I guess we can go anytime now."

We follow the winding road to Fort Qu'Appelle, along Katepwa Lake, then Mission Lake, with the sun blinding us all the way. But when we look to the left, the lakes are shivering blue glass, the clouds are white wispy horsetails, the hills are giant green gardens.

As Echo Lake appears, it seems to me the valley echoes the Treaty promise, "as long as the grass grows, the sun shines, the rivers flow", and I think about the fourth of the Fishing Lakes, Pasqua Lake -- named for Keitha's great grandfather, Chief Ben Pasqua -- further down the valley.

We turn into Fort Qu'Appelle, and I have to start concentrating on my driving because too often I miss the turn to Keitha's house because I'm blabbing about something. Keitha always lets me drive past, and waits with a coyote grin, for me to realize I've missed the turn. I don't miss it today, but we are both grinning, knowing how hard I am focusing so that I make the right turn in this small, small Saskatchewan town.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Walking Together by Danyelle Sieben

Walking Together

by Danyelle Sieben, Grade Eleven Student, Bert Fox Community High School

On July 1st I walked in the Canada Day parade- something I'd regularly be terrified to do with so many people watching- but in this case, I didn't care. In those moments I forgot all about the quiet reserve I approach things with, the way I try to hide at the edge of a classroom to avoid attention. I was doing something important.

This wasn't only about Orange Shirt Day to me; it was more than that. This was about supporting the two strong women who've done so much to support me.

Walking through the crowd, Mrs. Koops shouting information to the bystanders over the noise of nearby vehicles when we ran out of pamphlets, I felt at ease. I felt like I was a part of something.

This feeling came to a head when I saw the two teachers link together in front of me, Mrs. Gehl's arm going over Mrs. Koops as the other teacher returned the half hug that lasted a few steps. That parade may have come across as nothing more than a chance to get free candy to some, but I knew that it was the culmination of the hard work done by those two amazing women who'd set out to ensure no one forgot that Every Child Matters.

July 1st Canada Day Parade in Fort Qu'Appelle
Brooklyn Orban getting a selfie with Orange Shirt Day Fort Qu'Appelle team.

Danyelle, on the right with her mom, Kathy, on the left.

Danyelle on the far left, front, standing beside her mom.
Danyelle's teachers, Sheena and Roberta, are third and fourth from the left.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Creedance Ewenin, Age 11, Raising Awareness for Orange Shirt Day

When I first met Creedance Ewenin, she was a smiley, artistic, young girl who had signed up for voice lessons with me at Fort Music. Over the years, Creedance and I have shared our love for singing, but when Orange Shirt Day came along, we also realized we shared a passion for raising awareness around the legacy of Residential Schools.

I've asked Creedance, who is 11 years old and going into grade six at Fort Qu'Appelle Elementary Community School, to ask her mom and dad if I can interview her for my blog, Treaty Walks. Creedance messages me back that they are on their way to Edmonton, and her dad says yes.

Sheena. If someone had never heard of Orange Shirt Day, how would you explain it to them?

Creedance. I would say Orange Shirt Day is a day to honor/remember those who went to residential schools. All are asked to wear orange September 30th. It all started when a little girl who attended residential school lost her pretty orange shirt on the first day of school. Her name was "Phyllis Jack Webstad".

S. How did you first hear about Orange Shirt Day?

C. I first heard about Residential School from my dad. He didn't know about Orange Shirt Day, but he told me stories about our family who attended residential schools. Then, I heard about Orange Shirt Day from my Papa Lloyd Ewenin Sr. Then, I heard that my late cousin Jonathan Ewenin was a big supporter of Orange Shirt Day.

S. If someone had never heard of Residential School, how would you introduce this part of our shared history?

C. I would say residential schools were a very bad school. Children got taken away from their family's. Then, they were taken to the school. The federal government and the church took them away from their family's. The children were not able to speak their language. If they did they were slapped with a stick, ruler, belt, whatever the priest or nun had. Some children did not survive residential schools and some did.

S. I know that Mrs. Gehl and you also talked about Residential School in your classroom.Why is it important for school children to understand this history?

C. It is important for us school children to know about this history because it is important for everyone to know, even though it's a sad/dark part of our Canadian history. Everyone has the right to know.
S. How did you feel wearing an orange shirt, walking in the Canada Day parade with your dad?

C. I felt really proud of me and him for taking part in these activities and taking advantage of this so everyone can wear orange September 30th and know about this dark/sad history.

S. What are your hopes and dreams for Orange Shirt Day?

C. My hopes and dreams for Orange Shirt Day is that activities like this spread all over Canada and the world, so everyone can know about our history. And they can do something on September 30th.To honour those children who survived and did not survive residential schools.

S. What are your hopes and dreams for our community, our province, and our country?

C. My hopes and dreams for our community,our province and our country is that we will have peace. And everyone will learn to respect the world, the animals and our nature/environment. And everyone will respect each other's kind. And for kindness to spread all over our community, our province and our country.

When I read Creedance's last response, my eyes start burning with tears. I type back, "Oh, Creedance. This is so beautiful! I know that Elder Alma, who is helping guide us, has this dream, too. Let's work together to make this our reality."

"Thank you," replies Creedance. "I would love that."

Creedance and her dad, Nik, getting ready to walk in Fort Qu'Appelle's July 1st Parade

Creedance being interviewed by Cally from CTV's Indigenous Circle

Cally also interviewed Creedance's dad, Nik and me.
Journalist, Creeson Agecoutay, posted the clip on Indigenous Circle with the lead, "Looking back at last weekend's Canada Day in Fort Qu'Appelle, local students and community members raise awareness about Orange Shirt Day. An initiative that informs others about the history of residential schools in Canada. Give this one a watch."
We will be walking in Fort Qu'Appelle's Treaty Four Parade on Saturday, September 17th
to raise awareness for Orange Shirt Day, September 30th.

Please join us!

Check out our Facebook Page

Kete-aya Alma Poitras who is helping guide our Orange Shirt Day in Fort Qu'Appelle
caught up with my daughter, Arwen, and I right after the parade.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Beading Class with Keitha Brass

I cut out a little, blue-felt footprint. Pour red, yellow, blue and white beads onto a paper plate. I thread the skinniest needle I've ever held. "Now what?" I say to Keitha.

Keitha Brass, our President of the Community Outreach Management Centre in Fort Qu'Appelle, leads three beading classes this spring. From choosing materials to cutting patterns, Keitha guides us, in our many stages of experience, on a beading journey.

We drink tea. Eat cookies. Laugh. Visit. Relax. (Oh. My. Goodness. I haven't relaxed for weeks.)

People drop in. Family shows up. Keitha leans over her grandson's beading and offers a little help. I tease my dad. My mom teases herself , quoting her grade nine Home Economics Teacher, "Mary, if you ever get anything right, I'll die."

We make flowers. Sunshine. Footprints. Monsters. Medallions.

"This is what they missed at Residential School," says Lisa Cook who is there with her daughter, Talisa. "Just being together and sharing these moments."

Everyone in the circle nods, keeps eyes on the tiny, colourful beads at our fingertips. Each of us is quiet. Some of us have immediate relatives who were in Residential School; some of us do not. Keitha, herself, is a Residential School survivor.

I scoop four red beads onto the needle. I pull the thread tight, poke the needle back into the blue-felt, then I tack the beads down.

I am thankful for this playful and creative space. I am happy to sit at the table, accepting another gift from the peoples of this land. I am humbled by the teachings of this circle, of friendship, of family. I am committed to stepping into spaces of reconciliation, one little white footprint at a time.

Keitha choosing supplies from Bucks Dollar Store

Talisa and her mom, Lisa Cook

Bev Missens

Mary, my mom, with Talisa and Lisa in the background.
Shantel and Mark, Keitha's grandchildren, with Keitha in the foreground.
My little, beaded blue-felt footprint.
End Note.
When I message Lisa Cook, to see if I am quoting her right, she writes back the following:
"Sounds nice. I was enjoying the feeling of togetherness. The way we were sharing stories, laughing, bonding... I never went to residential school. Just the thought of what a child would miss being away from home (being away from their immediate family, relatives and community). It (our beading together) was a awesome feeling."

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Why are We Whites Afraid to hear "Black Lives Matter"?

I have been on the periphery of the periphery regarding the "Black Lives Matter" social media campaign. But now that it's summer, and a teacher has a little more down time, I have taken one step into the conversation.

I read "'All Lives Matter' is a Gross Attempt to Protect White Privilege" by Angelina Chapin.

I repost it on Facebook with my own two-cents: "After reading this article, we white folks can ask ourselves if we are in denial, resistance, exploration or commitment stage of anti-racism and changing white privilege."

One of my white friends says, "I think many people say 'all lives matter' very innocently. I have said it when the police officers died as all lives involved, no matter what Color, mattered, and it wasn't to take away from the need for awareness and change in the world for black people. It is a sick world that we have to add a Color to the statement 'lives matter'. Very, very sad. 'All lives matter' is to me a way of saying I don't see Color, so I think many people see it that way, not as a racist thing. This is very hard, as I can see the problem with saying it as well."

One of my white cousins, Cheryl, replies, "If we are ever going to get passed the color issue every color needs to be given respect; otherwise, it's still an us and them divisiveness. Take away human skin and we are all the same!" she says. "Do we have to have groups to talk, to come to a that how elders did it long ago? People just got together and discussed problems. Everyone today has a group... Has having these groups helped or has it just created more problems? Bottom line...we need to talk, we need to listen, we need to compromise and we need to forgive."

I offer my cousin that I'd love to come and speak with her and her church group, specifically using the Blanket Exercise as a way to begin this discussion. "And yes," I say, "white privilege is being interrupted by social justice groups. This is why white people feel threatened and defensive. It is time we listened to those marginalized rather than telling them how to move on."

After more comments, questioning the common sense of "All Lives Matter" because of course, all lives do matter, it becomes clearer and clearer to me that the disconnect we are having "white on white" is connected to the invisibility of what it means to be white in our society and also the reality of white privilege.

I share two articles that I return to over and over to ground me as a white person, trying to decolonize myself and my society. In a Canadian context, I am making connections to racism against Indigenous peoples.

I continue addressing Cheryl:

I have found the article, "Detour Spotting for White Anti-racists" to be very helpful homework for myself. It will help you think about racism and the systemic role that white people play in racism. Then, it will give you some language to help navigate this topic. For example, when we say things like, "People are just people; I don't see colour." This is what's called "colourblindness" which actually plays into racist thinking. Or, when people like you and me who have relatives or friends who are Indigenous, we can use this as a protection, equating our relationships with anti-racism, when in fact, we can be inadvertantly employing "innocenct by association" which is not an excuse to avoid anti-racist work. Finally, naming white privilege is not name calling, it is actually just identifying a reality which is often invisible to white people. On the other hand, calling Indigenous people by stereotypes is racism. Naming white privilege is not racism, it is the beginning of anti-racism. If we see this as offensive, it means we are in the denail or resistance stages of change toward a more anti-racist society.

I also add the primary reading, "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" by Peggy McIntosh.

We close our Facebook conversation amiably, with promises of further communication.

When re-reading "Detour Spotting" I know that I am dangerously close to falling into a detour myself,  Jona Olson's #13, "White On White, and Righetously So" sounds like, "What is wrong with those white people? Can't they see how racist they're being?" Olson unpacks this by saying, "We may have attended many anti-racism workshops; we may not be shouting racist epithets or actively discriminating against people of color, but we still experience privilege based on our white skin color. We benefit from this system of oppression and advantage, no matter what our intentions are. This distancing serves only to divide us from potential allies and limit our own learning." This white-on-white blaming is another form of denial. I have to watch for this in my own positioning.

My old high school social studies teacher, Michael Ensley, posts a helpful piece.  "White Plight?"

I repost this article, and say, "Thanks for sharing this piece. As white people trying to understand race relationships today, we must first unpack, make visible, the systemic privileging of white people that our North American and colonial/British nations are founded on. There are many shades of white identity, and we all have different roles we (mostly unwittingly) play in racism. Naming white privileges is not being racist; to the contrary, this is a first step toward dismantling racism."

"Black Lives Matter," Mr. Ensley posts, "First Nations lives matter."

Cheryl writes, "I have been wondering since I read the articles you sent me how many of my generation are aware of this conversation? I feel that it's being discussed more in your generation and on down to high school level, but I have not heard anything from people my age...maybe I need to get out more!"

"You are bringing tears to my eyes with your humility and open-mindedness," I say. "I agree, this has been invisible for a long time, and our youth will be our teachers."

"The problem I have is that it's my generation who still make up the majority, we still make a lot of the decisions too both here and in the US. I am going to introduce the topic in my coffee group on Monday...see what kind of feedback I get," she says.


"Be ready for a tussle," I say. "But you're up for it!"

"Well, I won't be able to claim I am an expert. I am still a baby when it comes to the whole conversation but it makes a lot of sense."


"Me, too," I say. "I have so much to learn! Humility is a great starting point!!! So thankful we are on this journey together!"

My friend adds to our original comment thread. "Ok I think this may be a better way to see it. It isn't about whose lives matter, but equality is not always equal. If we give equal to those who are treated less it still isn't equality. Being equal can take growth and help."

So, why are we whites afraid to hear, "Black Lives Matter"?

When we hear "Black Lives Matter" and we immediately say -- innocently -- that "All Lives Matter" we are silencing a conversation. We are saying that we are uncomfortable with where this dialogue might take us, and we are okay with the status quo (which we don't realize privileges white people.) By leaving "All Lives Matter" unmarked,  I believe we are unintentionally saying, "White Lives Matter More" and innocently, unintentionally, we feel more comfortable with this, because we don't know what we are really saying.





Saturday, July 23, 2016

Colonialism No More: Opening Up a Space

I am welcomed into the circle of Colonialism No More Solidarity Camp on 1827 Albert Street in Regina, Saskatchewan.

"Can't beat SK," one of the two guys who greet me says, reading the green print on my black shirt.

"I'm a table tennis player," I say. "And my name is Sheena Koops, SK, so the shirt works double time."

"Really, you play table tennis, like in competitions?" the one guy says.

"Yup, I just got back from the nationals in Winnipeg."

We chuckle and small talk around table tennis. Ping pong diplomacy.

"Wondered if I could bring you guys some coffee," I say.

"Sure," they say.

I return with Tim Hortons and some Tim Bits, and only Darren is left in the circle. He wonders where the others have gone, and maybe there is something that needs to be said between the two of us. We agree that things happen when they are supposed to happen.

Darren listens as I share some of my journey as a settler descendant, waking up to my Treaty responsibility. How it is difficult to come into this space, to make myself awkward and humble.

He shares some of his truth, that words and labels sometimes get in the way of our work. That our colonial systems, our colonial institutions have hurt Indigenous peoples and continue to colonize and oppress. How it is difficult to listen to people shout things like "go home" and worse. How people honk and shout "good job" but don't ever come into the camp for a conversation.

The other gentleman, Prescott, introduces himself, having sat down beside me. A young woman, who identifies as a settler descendant, has sat on the other side of me, but I never get her name. She talks about the importance of opening up a space where we can have these conversations, an emotionally safe place. I ask her how we can open up more spaces like this.

All four of us talk some more, and then I need to leave, my daughter has been calling my cell.

I thank these guys for their generosity and leadership.

Another settler descendant woman, wearing a Truth and Reconciliation shirt, a wide brim sun hat, joins the circle. Darren greets her by name.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Decolonizing: Is this Just an Academic Thing?

Driving down Albert Street in Regina, past the Legislative Building, over Wascana Bridge, past the Fire Hall, I see tents and one tipi on the right side of the street in front of a big, concrete building. I remember this is the Colonialism No More encampment. I've driven by a few times.

I should stop in, I think. I see one man sitting alone in a circle of chairs under an umbrella, as I drive past. If I didn't have to go help my friend this morning, I'd maybe go visit the camp.

I'm buying yogurt in the McDonalds Drive thru when my friend phones and she doesn't need me until 1:00pm. It's only 9:00am. 

Maybe I should go for a walk in Wascana Park, I think. I need to start walking more.

I drive back, past the camp. I circle the block. "90 Days and Counting" I see on the side of a big, white tent. I'm not in the mood to be awkward, I think.

I drive by one more time. Maybe I can take them some coffee, but how many people are there?

I remember talking about decolonization, unsettling, indigenization at the Historical Thinking Summer Institute last week in Vancouver.

Is decolonizing just an academic topic for me?

I see there is parking across the street. I circle one more time and stop, just out of view from the man in the circle. I get out of my car. I peek my head around the main tent.

I am welcomed into the circle.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Wearing Orange this Canada Day

Creedance, my voice student, opened the door to our rehearsal space, sat down and said, "Hey, my teacher was wearing an orange shirt today, too."

"Cool," I said, "Today is Orange Shirt Day, September 30th."

"I know," Creedance said. "Mrs. Gehl told us about it, and I told her about my family who attended residential school."

This conversation led to Creedance's teacher -- who is also my friend -- and I applying for a Multicultural Education Initiatives grant to promote Orange Shirt Day Awareness in Fort Qu'Appelle.

After a lot of brainstorming, we decided that we would walk in two parades -- July 1st Canada Day  and Treaty Four, mid September.

Orange Shirt Day is the legacy of a 2013 ceremony in Williams Lake, BC, where Phyllis Jack Webstad shared her experience of losing her pretty new orange shirt on her first day of Residential School.

Fast forward to Canada Day 2016.

My daughter, Arwen, and I pull up on Centre Street in Fort Qu'Appelle. It might rain, so I call my mom and ask her to pick up some umbrellas. I open up the trunk and pull out the shirts that Arwen and her friends painted with the slogans, "Every Child Matters" on the front and "Orange Shirt Day, September 30th" on the back.

Other groups are lining up to walk in the parade. Students, parents, Mrs. Gehl and her husband, and Arwen's friends join us. Cally from CTV's Indigenous Circle interviews Creedance, her dad, Nick, and me.

Creedance and her dad share stories from their family's experiences at Residential School. They reflect on the strength of their family, the love that they share even though they've experienced loss and pain.

Cally asks me why I think it's appropriate to wear an orange shirt and walk in the Canada Day parade.

I love my country. I am proud to be a Canadian.

I love my grandparents. I am proud of my heritage.

Recognizing the Treaties and how the Treaty right to education was broken through the Indian Act and Residential School is part of my responsibility to my grandparents and my heritage.

We, as settler descendants, have been benefiting from the Treaties for over one hundred years. For us to acknowledge that others have been oppressed through broken Treaties, for us to acknowledge the truth that Residential School contributed to genocide against Indigenous peoples, for us to learn about our disturbing history, this can make us even more Canadian.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Four Winding Paths Up the Mountain: Historical Reading of Downtown Winnipeg

I am in Winnipeg with Team Saskatchewan at the 2016 Table Tennis Nationals. On Sunday I will leave the competition early, drive back to Saskatchewan and catch a plane to Vancouver for the Historical Thinking Institute. In preparation for this week long conference, one of the readings is “Teaching History from an Indigenous Perspective: Four Winding Paths up the Mountain” by Michael Marker. I am also taking pictures in and around The Bay and the Legislative Building.

"Pro Pelle Cutem"
"A Skin for a Skin"

346 years old on May 2nd,  2016
200 years before Manitoba joined confederation in 1870
201 years before the signing of Treaty 1 in 1871
177 years after the 1493 Doctrine of Discovery
93 years before the Royal Proclamation
Michael Marker points out that history is most likely the most difficult class for Aboriginal students in Canada because history often has been told selectively by the dominant society and “the deeper perspectives of Aboriginal peoples in regard to their understandings of the processes of time and the principles of their knowledge systems are usually missing.” And, there are deep consequences when a story is not told correctly.
For example, what are The Bay's window dressings saying about Canada and the history of this land?

cloth with green, red, yellow and blue
white manikin
red tie
shiny reflection on foreground surface
florescent lights
from outside looking into window
rolled into log-like bundles
tied with ribbons
reds, yellows, greens, blues

white canoe and pillows
white, yellow, red, gree, black, blue
street scene reflection
man in red shirt
I heart Canada
green, red, yellow, blue
white horns
displays on shelves
man on a bench reflected

white stag
faceless, white manikin
logs, skirt, yellow shirt
evergreens and borders

white husky
faceless, white manikins
carrying bag in blue, yellow, red and green
pom poms on white shirt
shorts and shirts of yellow under blue
boots, logs and evergreens 

axe and lots of chopped wood
blanket with blue, yellow stripes
cute little guy under a white hat
faceless manikin in jeanwear
framed white bird and
blue, yellow, red and green wear
with mountains in the background
Pho Hoang Vietnamese Restaurant bench in the foreground

white dog with blue, yellow, red, white bundle in her mouth
two deer look on from the wall
faceless manikin sees nothing at all
in her white coat, white legs strapped in high heels
carrying bags of red, green, yellow, blue

Michael Marker says there are four ways that Indigenous knowledge does not fit... into Western knowledge:

1.    Time as a circle,

2.    Relationship with the land and non-humans,

3.    The local landscape is the first way in to history making (not the global stage), and

4.    Indigenous naming of colonization and talking back to this attack.

The metaphor of Michael Marker's paper, the four paths up the mountain, always includes both a physical walk, and a more-than-physical journey. So the question is, how does a non-indigenous educator leave his or her Western mindset and travel these “intellectual trails up an indigenous mountain”?

Indigenous students will hear their elders share Creation stories, but then be corrected by well-meaning teachers, and taught the Bering Strait Theory, ironically implying that Indigenous people are also immigrants, which de-privileges their deep connections, self-constructed identities, based on the land, while also undermining sovereignty. When students are corrected by the mainstream, this has the potential of further colonizing First Nations peoples. As Marie Battiste, a Mi’kmaq scholar says, “cognitive prisons” become a form of “cognitive imperialism”.
United College which is also a High School one of our Table Tennis friends attended when he first arrived in Winnipeg at 17 from Hong Kong
Acknowledging (even privileging) a circular nature of time, rather than a linear visualization of time is the first path up the mountain. Events can spiral and reoccur. Stories can circle between or around the past, the present, the future. Perhaps the circle incorporates all times at the same time. This Indiginization de-priviliges a notion of progress so important to European worldview, in which modern society is viewed as progressive.
My student and table tennis athlete, Nigel Dubois and I toured the Manitoba Legislature.
Nigel named this the "clapping room" because echoes pop around in a circle.

Relationship and therefore knowledge with/of the land and non-humans could be where the origins of history originate in an Indigenous world. There is a “sacred ecology” and even modern understanding of Treaty and today’s landclaims would benefit if people understood how indigenous people relate and are part of the land. Often Western notions of progress are directly connected to the “sentient landscape” as Julie Cruikshank teaches us or as Marker tells us the old people say, “the land knows you’re there.” There is also the idea that “historical truth and moral and cultural truth” intertwine, and often the land, plants, animals and all non-human are involved. The place “things” happen are also integral to indigenous history. And this is becoming more and more recognized by legal systems, including the Supreme Court of Canada who recognized oral tradition as “having equivalent power with documentary evidence to demonstrate historic truth.”
Nigel at the park across from the Manitoba Legislative Building
"the land knows you're there"
“For indigenous communities, the past is located in the local and traditional territory” because these are the most important stories to tell for people to honour their identities and responsibility to the land. How can indigenous people communicate this truth without betraying local ways? One example is the need for Indigenous Studies or Native Studies in high schools. Without this, the dominate narrative will continue, “subordinated and shaped by the need to narrate a selective story that silences dissenting indigenous voices”. In fact, the indigenous narrative should not just be a sideline or afterthought, as Wendy Wickwire reminds us, it should be “central core of history”. This is important to identity building to fight racism, denial, stereotyping, and many more scenarios indigenous people walk with and through every day.
What do the words on this building tell us about worldview and relationship to the land?
Colonization has a long list of  pain and brings complexity to modern indigenous living. Settler descendants, learning about colonization (through the lens of colliding worldviews) have the opportunity to make a difference if willing to be part of de-colonizing because colonization is not just a thing of the past. Our society is actively practicing colonization. In fact, “For indigenous peoples, a history of Canada as a nation-state is a colonizing way of thinking about people, relationships, and the land.”
The metaphor of the paths up the mountain suggests that the one walking will need to make sacrifices. There will be sacrifices of world-view, content, time, conventions, and other discomforts or as Reagan calls it, "Unsettling"; however, the trade-off for these changes “could inspire students to imagine alternative ways to structure the societies of the future as a result of learning about indigenous ways of experiencing time and space.” Could indigenizing our history help our world become sustainable for the future?  
One of large pictures outside United College which we walked past every day on our way to the gym. on Doctrine of Discovery