The Intersection of Self-Care and Moontime

In early March, the women in our ECCU class was prepped to take part in a pipe ceremony as performed by Elder Elma. Inform due to weather concerns this was rescheduled. During this announcement I was excited because I was on my moon-time at that moment and therefore I would have been asked to take time for self-care during this time.

We were rescheduled to take part in a pipe ceremony today, March 21st. Oddly enough, I woke up this morning  and realized that my moon-time had arrived again, for the second time in a month, odd. I was sad to not take part in this pipe ceremony; however, I was guided to use my time as a moment to take part in self-care as this is an important thing for women to do during their moon-time.

While my classmates took part in the pipe ceremony, one of my classmates Shania and I, both on our moon-times, decided to go and try to find ways to take care of ourselves. We spent 25 minutes walking around the University discussing self-care and then we each grabbed our favorite warm beverage and headed back to where we began our journey. During our conversation, it was brought up that there is very little self-care aspects within our University’s walls. We discussed how the construct of University is heavily encompassed by strict deadlines, pressure to succeed and high stress levels. Due to this, Shania and I decided that we would take some times outside of the University this week to engage in self-care.

Understanding Self-Care

When I was first asked to take time for self-care, I immediately thought of how self-care is something that I often set aside in the mix of assignments and classes. I admire the notion that during your moon-time, that a women should take time for self-care and to help her reconnect with the power that she has a life bearer and her strong connection to water. (Keepers of the Water, 2013, pg. 28)


Photo Credit: stevendepolo Flickr via Compfight cc

In considering the idea that my moon-time and ability of bearing life shows signs of great power, I wanted to be respectful and find multiple ways to engage in authentic self-care throughout my moon-time. I have planned to deliberate self-care in the following ways:

  • Physical self-care: This includes ensuring that I eat a healthy breakfast, get enough sleep and take part in physical activity like I do at the gym.
  • Spiritual self-care: This includes ensuring that I find time to listen to music and give thanks to those around me. These are two things that help me build a stronger connection between myself and the world around me.
  • Emotional self-care: Ensuring that I incorporate time during my moon-time to spend quality time with my boyfriend, friends and family as this helps me feel like I have emotional fulfillment in my life.
  • Mental self-care: This includes taking time away from my studies and homework to focus on my mental health. I have intentions to go to the Temple Garden Spa this Friday with my boyfriend as a way to disconnect from the technological world, relax and help myself refocus for the last few weeks of my semester.

So far, this has been my planned engagement with my self-care. I plan to document my self-care in ways that do not disrupt the notion of the care itself. But, for now, I leave you with this.

Until next time,

Jenna deBoth

Advertisements

Metis in the Middle – Classroom Presentation

On Feb 28, we had the opportunity in our ECCU class to have a young man by  the name of Russell Fayant come in and speak to us on the topic of Metis and their role in treaties. Below are some brief jot notes regarding key information that I took from the presentation:

  • Who are Metis?
    • French and Scottish; Cree and Ojibwa (mostly)
    • A Metis person is:
      • Recognized by a Metis Community
      • Self-Declares to be Metis person
      • Trace History to historic MetisCommunity (ie: Willowbunch in Saskatchewan)
      • Michif is the traditional language of Metis peoples
      • Hillbox Hat/ Metis Sash are considered Traditional Attire

“It is not who you claim to be… it’s who claims you.”

  • Extinguish of Land Titles Through Scrip
    • 1.4 million acres
    • 1870 Manitoba act was signed
    • Metis families were pushed far away
    • rescinded or pulled back 4 times of 2 years for alterations.
    • Less than 2% of Metis peoples today have the claim to the land originally given by scrip
    • POWERFUL ACTIVITY ABOUT SCRIP – created by Russel to show students how Scrips were distributed, rescinded multiple times and in the end the Metis people were left disbursed from their homes and cutoff from both European and Indigenous Communities.

The reason that I have added these few bullets above is to help myself when reflecting upon this experience and blog postin future years and helping myself consider just a few things that I learned from this presentation.

An excerpt from Russel’s presentation that stood out to me was:

No one knows reconciliation like Metis people because we were created out of Europeans trying to make peaceful relationships with Indigenous Peoples. Metis would not exist without it. We know reconciliation is possible because is has happened before.

I appreciated that Russell mentioned this as it reminded me that there is hope for reconciliation in this world as it has happened in one form in the past. I know that reconciliation looks different for everyone; however, I feel empowered as I realize that it has happened before therefore it is not an impossible way of life!Photo Credit: blprnt_van Flickr via Compfight cc

KEY MOMENT from this presentation: I realized that I know nothing about Metis people, culture and histories. I have a responsibility to learn more so that I can speak appropriately as an advocate during in my Treaty Education of youth. In learning more I have committed to doing the following actions:

  • Watch the movie Places Not Our Own
  • Watch Ashes and Tears (The Gabriel Dumont Library has it
  • Research further the impacts that colonization has had on Metis peoples.

Until next time,

Jenna deBoth

Unsettled Classroom Visit – Claire’s Class

Late in January, I was reminded in one of my classes of an unsettled educator in the Prairie South School Division, who has developed a working and authentic integration process of Treaty Education into her modern 21st century grade 3 classroom. Her name is Claire Kreuger and I had the opportunity to go and observe an afternoon in her classroom in the first few days of February 2017.

But how did I get there? Let’s talk. After being reminded of Claire’s presence as a educator, I thought back to when I had first heard of this remarkable teacher. See, back in my 2nd year of my degree, I was fortunate enough to have Claire come and speak to myself and 150 other elementary education pre-service teachers during one of our lecture classes. I remember she spoke about the garden of hearts as well as some of her challenges that she is faced with as an educator. Later on in that same year, in another class, Claire’s classroom was brought up once again, this time in the light of environmental education. So, fast forward two years, when Claire’s name was brought up again, I knew I had to meet her. The remarkable thing about social media and the age of technology is that I used a simple 140 character tweet to ask for an opportunity that forever changed the way that I look at a 21st century classroom.

Within 3 hours of sending out a tweet to Claire, I received a response that she would love to open her classroom up and have me come observe. I was very excited and withing a few days, I was on my way to take hold of this new opportunity. This is where the knowledge that I have developed in my treaty walk so far kicked in. I realized that I was on my way to a school I had never been to before as well as I had never met Claire face to face. I decided that if she was going to open her classroom and her wealth of education wisdom to me, then I needed to arrive with something to thank her with. I headed to a local floral show as I thought that a few flowers would be a great thank you. Being the thoughtful person that I think I am, I decided to get carnations as they do not have a strong scent, in case her or any of her students has allergies. A thank you goes out to my mother for this knowledge, as she is allergic to almost every scent excluding the subtle smells of carnations.

Fast forward again, I have arrived at the school, wrapped flowers in hand along with my handy notebook and a pen. I enter the school, ask for Madame Kreuger. Upon arriving in her classroom, I was delighted to see 30+ students huddles on the floor in a semi circle around Claire. This was the beginnings of a drumming group that Claire was working to develop in their school. One of the strongest recollections from those first few moments in that classroom was the gentle, natural and abundant conversation about Indigenous ceremonies, history and content. These students were discussing the purpose of a round dance, sometime, that I still require to research further. After the transition from lunch to class time again, I was blown away at the wealth of knowledge that Claire’s grade 3 students had about treaty four and the peoples who live within in. The seamless integration of a round dance unit and quiz into English language period was remarkable and I felt that Claire has put in tons of effort to make treaty education a natural part of her classroom.

Needless today, the afternoon flew by and I felt that at the end I could now speak to a small portion of why Claire has the remarkable reputation that she has in the southern part of Saskatchewan. I could go on all day about the endless ways that Claire’s classroom challenged my settler mindset; however, I want to narrow in on how this connects to my treaty walk. For me, I will take this experience forward with me as it has helped me realize that I have a responsibility as an educator to make treaty education not only known, but a staple in my educational philosophy and daily practices in the classroom.

Once again I thank Claire for this experience and I hope that my classmates and other pre-service teachers or current teachers get an opportunity to observe and learn from Claire and the way she approaches Treaty Education in the classroom.

Until next time,

Jenna deBoth

We Are All Treaty People – Visiting the Royal Sask Museum Exhibit

At the end of January, I had the opportunity to go to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum to take a look at the We Are All Treaty People exhibit. Due to particular circumstances that day, both my parents decided to join me on this journey. I have been to the Royal Sask Museum multiple times in the past four years; therefore I had a strong feeling that this exhibit would be located in the lower floor of the building. Upon arriving at the exhibit, I was slightly shocked to see that it was only a tiny corner of the room. In my mind, I thought that a topic as important as Treaties would be a larger exhibit than the one it was; however, I am aware that I should be thankful that the museum has a place where they could host these articles of the true history of Canada.

As a settler person whom is working towards unsettling, I was astonished to hear that the pictograph, that was created by Chief Pasqua, was originally meant to be taken to parliament as a written account of what Indigenous Peoples were promised in treaties in comparison to what they received; instead it was taken to a home and hung as a decoration for many generations. To me, this speaks to the disrespect shown towards Indigenous Peoples and their way of knowing. I am aware that at the time that many of the numbered treaties were signed, that Indigenous groups did not speak English; however, I feel frustrated by the idea that they were taken advantage of because of their alternative ways of communication and documentation of events; such as the pictograph, shown below.

http://press-files.anu.edu.au/downloads/press/p15131/html/ch06.xhtml?referer=1241&page=9

Nevertheless, I digress. The whole experiences of looking at the pictograph and a copy of the original transcript of Treaty 4 was enlightening. This event contributed to my treaty walk as it gave me a better idea of how the treaties were used as tools of surrender against Indigenous Peoples. I know that as a treaty person, I have a responsibility to continue to talk about how treaties were negotiated, their original intentions from both parties as well as contemporary results due to their implementation.

Until next time,

Jenna deBoth

 

A Perspective Shift: Additions to my Worldview

As a settler, my eyes have been opened to the idea that treaties were originally created to be a peaceful friendship between two groups. In part, many of the treaties were created, “not [as] land surrenders, but rather established commercial trade arrangements and reflected a desire on the part of the British to have military alliances.” (Chelsey Vowel, 2016, pg. 246) When trying to understand my role as a treaty person, I believe that it’s important to understand why treaties were originally signed and what the original intent behind them was.

Peace and Respect. These were the original intentions of settler relations with Indigenous Peoples on Turtle Island. At first contact, the Europeans needed support from the Indigenous peoples in order to survive the conditions of Turtle Island.  So what went wrong? Why did the Europeans go from wanting a relationship with Indigenous groups to trying to assimilate them into ‘European society”. Well, what is comes down to is the ideals of patriarchy and colonialism. Europeans lack of respect for Indigenous perspectives and ways of knowing/ living caused a breakdown in communication and therefore lead to the disintegration of the peaceful and respectful relationships between Indigenous Peoples and settlers.

Even though Indigenous Peoples have been cheated by, misled, or even hurt from the settler peoples, I am astounded by the resiliency, openness and forgiveness that emanates from survivors, decision makers and the general population of Indigenous Peoples who I have heard their stories or comments at this point in my treaty walk. I strongly believe that the greater populations of settler peoples have a responsibility to listen to Indigenous voices as they hold many valuable and respectable morals and ideas that I strongly believe should be integrated and adopted into the western worldview.

In this, I am making reference to the ideals of religion. I have a high respect for the idea I have heard mentioned by various elders or life speakers from different groups across Saskatchewan. This idea comes forth when a diverse group of people take part in a ceremony or experience together and someone refers to praying to a higher power. The common phrase that I have heard associated with this, in which I admire, is to, “pray in the way you were taught.” In my worldview, this means that there is no discrimination against your beliefs and values, but you are called to take part in this honourable experience in the eyes of a greater power (ie: God, the Creator etc.). Hearing and recognizing this common narrative makes me feel hope that as a part of reconciliation, that all people will come to recognize, and respect the differences that we have as a diverse nation and the fact that we should not discriminate against someone who may have a different belief then our own.

As a part of my treaty walk and my journey to becoming an educator, I believe that the ideas of peace and respect as well as openness, forgiveness and reciliency are elements that I would like to bring into my classroom. In doing this, I am able to develop students who are open minded, caring and stronger global citizen, which in turn will help our society move away from colonialism and patriarchy and work towards a more just and welcoming world.

Image result for harmonious world
http://www.tenthousandvillages.com/

Until next time,

Jenna deBoth

Blanket Exercise

The blanket exercise was not a new topic for me this semester; however, I did not have the opportunity to take part in the exercise before this semester. As an educator, one of my most important goals for my students is to engage them in the learning process so that they can make meaning sense of the world around them and be interested in learning to the point that they understand that learning is a lifelong and enjoyable process.  The blanket exercise is one of those opportunities that would engage students in a meaningful learning experience about Turtle Island’s true history.

This semester, I have had the opportunity to take part in the blanket exercise twice; first as a part of my ECCU class and secondly as a part of the train process to facilitate the exercise. The first experience was very emotion filled for me. I learned about different concepts such as the enfranchisement along with the power struggle that Indigenous people were faced with in the past along with how they continue to be challenged by the impacts of colonization. During our debrief of the first exercise, I had to self-talk myself through some of the emotions that I was feeling in order to clearly reflect on the learning that I had just experienced. The second time I took part in the exercise, I started to think about how useful this experience would be to teach students about the history of Turtle Island along with the impacts that colonization has had on us all.

As an educator, I would love to use the blanket exercise in my classroom as a way to introduce to my student the experiences mentioned in the exercise. Since the exercise is a relatively quick paced recollection of the colonization of Turtle Island, it could not be used as a one-off for treaty education as students would miss out on much of the information that they should learn about. In saying this, I think that this exercise would be a great start to an inquire unit about the impact of colonization and the process of assimilation on Indigenous Peoples in Canada.  I am thankful that Kairos Canada has created this resource and that it along with other remarkable resources are free for educators to use with their students.

In regards to my treaty walk, the essential learning that I take away from the blanket exercise is that numbered treaties were developed in the past; however the impacts of them still is evident today and therefore I have a role as an educator to ensure that my students understand the treaty making process, the impacts of treaty and what they can do as a part of reconciliation.

I look forward to using this resource with my students to help them kick start their own treaty walk and learn what it means to be a treaty person.

 

Until next time,

Jenna deBoth

Understanding Symbols: Seminar 4

Another key learning from peer seminar groups was from seminar four which discussed symbols in treaty making. A powerful symbol that was discussed was the handshake. This symbol represented many things; however each one relates to a promise. I am aware that the handshakes or signs of promises made at treaty negotiations were not kept; however, I wonder what that says about the importance that settler people put on having a firm handshake. I remember when I was in my career guidance class in Grade 9 and our teacher asked us to practice handshakes so that one day when we went for job interviews that we would have a strong and firm handshake to show our confidence. After learning more about the symbolism behind handshakes, my idea of the importance of handshakes has diminished. I strongly believe that if handshakes were valued as much as we, settler people, pretend that they are then we would have done everything in our power not to break the promises that we made my shaking hands with out Indigenous neighbors during treaty negotiations.

Other symbols were brought up in seminar four such as the bible. This made me think about symbols that exist in my life and how people misconstrued them to be something else. For example, I have a tattoo on my left hip that includes a rosary. I have had many people ask if I have this symbol because of its association with religion and in turn they assume that I am a Christian. Well they are not entirely wrong, but this symbol is not for me; instead it is a replica of my grandmother’s rosary that I got when she passed away. I have the image tattooed on me in honour of her with little connection to the symbol as it pertains to religious beliefs.
During seminar four, I appreciated the opportunity to create a flag that represented me as a treaty person or my journey towards understanding myself as treaty person. As a flag is another form of symbol, let me take a moment to explain what my flag means in reference to its image below.

First, let’s talk about the background. In the background is a bunch of trees and blue sky. This represents my belief that in order to fully understand myself as a treaty person I must think about where I am from and where to go from there. My home town of Hudson Bay is located in the middle of the forest in Northeast Saskatchewan and trees are a natural symbol that reminds me of its geological location.

Secondly, let’s take a deeper look at the eyes and the book on this flag. The eyes represent my awareness and my openness towards learning about treaty issues both past and contemporary. The eyes also represent my curiosity that pushes me to want to learn more so that I can be a stronger educator. Also, the eyes represent the main part of my treaty walk, which is being open to opportunities and taking hold of those as frequently as I can.

Finally, the book represents the literature that I have taken up as a part of my treaty walk. This would be articles that I find online, books I have found in stores or even the literature shared with my by peers, life speakers, instructors or anyone else. I strongly believe that stories, whether written or verbally shared, are a key way to help myself understand who I am as a treaty person.

Symbolism is everywhere in our world. I have made a promise to myself as a part of my treaty walk, to inquire into symbols further so that I may be respectful of those symbols as well as able to teach an appreciation for symbols to my students one day.

Until next time,

Jenna deBoth