Almost two years ago, I got pretty upset about the price discrepancy between food in northern Canadian areas and the rest of Canada. As I dug deeper into my inquiry, I discovered that yes, the food costs more to ship to the North, but federal funding was being mismanaged by the food stores.
So, I joined a Facebook group “Helping Our Northern Neighbours” and I shipped a few boxes to a couple of families requesting assistance. Sending boxes of goods by no means solved the food price issue issue (and it’s a complex one!). However, taking action felt good. My kids got involved too.
This week, #fslchat’s topic was about the FNMI perspective in FSL. In the concluding question, I encouraged people to read “The Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Calls for Action” which you can find here. It’s not a quick read, there are 94 recommendations.
My purpose in reading them was to follow up on a question that a colleague, Sarah Sanders, came up with.
As an FSL educator, how can I be an ally in truth & reconciliation? Where do we fit in?
I feel like a lot of the calls for action are by different levels of government.
I don’t know if the analogy works, but for me it’s like a struggling student in my classroom. Do I wait for an official diagnosis or assessment before providing the supports or accommodations that they need? We can’t wait for the government to respond to all of these calls to action before taking some action ourselves.
The following (#63) was the one that struck the biggest chord for me:
The third one down (iii) and the fourth (iv) made me think of Cliff Kraeker, a chat participant this week, who is currently volunteering two days per week in two First Nation schools in his area. I’ve met Cliff a few times and from his interactions on Twitter, I know that he is a “doer”. And I would add that he is always calling out others to take action beyond their words as well.
The first and second on the list above call to me. I feel like I’ve just started my journey here. We’ve had our first FNMI #fslchat on Twitter, which prompted me to explore some resources and best practice resources that I had not before. I was very grateful to my colleague Sarah for steering me in the right direction. But I still have a lot to learn.
During this chat, I learned that the best resource is someone from the First Nations, Metis or Inuit community coming into the classroom and sharing their experiences.
The two following pictures got a lot of retweets too. I have to admit, I don’t even know where they are from. But they almost seem like those Universal Design type things – what may benefit a few is actually good for all.
My next action is to read the following PDF. It’s history I feel that I “know” but perhaps with the FNMI lens that was missing from my own History education. The English version is called “They Came for the Children”.
I’m also going to visit the display “100 Years of Loss” installation at TVDSB. It’s on display until the 19th of May.
Because I can’t do better until I know better.
I need to understand the “truth” better before I can be a part of reconciling.
Maybe Cliff will invite me and the baby out to one of his First Nations schools sometime…
What can you commit to?
The world is full of big, messy problems that need solving and to be reconciled, if you will. How can we equip our students, the future adults of the world, to tackle them? I wonder if some of the solutions couldn’t be helped by a medicine wheel type approach.
What’s your next step? What are you already working on? Which of the calls to action speak to you?