“ii’ taa’poh’to’p, the Blackfoot name of the University of Calgary’s Indigenous Strategy, was bestowed and transferred in ceremony by Kainai Elder, Andy Black Water on June 21, 2017. The name signifies a place to rejuvenate and re-energize while on a journey. Traditionally, these places are recognized as safe, caring, restful — and offer renewed energy for the impending journey. In a traditional naming ceremony, transitioning into the new name is a journey of transformation towards self actualization.” (ii’ taa’poh’to’p)
As the university and many other organizations begin the process toward reconciliation with the Indigenous people of Canada, individuals have an opportunity to do some of their own work to learn the devastating impact of colonization.
The Doucette Library has developed a top-notch collection of Indigenous resources for the K-12 audience and, while, it seems limited to certain ages, many of the resources are suitable for adults to read. Fatty Legs by Christy Jordan-Fenton, although aimed at a young audience gives a feeling of a child’s experience in Residential Schools. The Education of Augie Merasty: A Residential School Memoir by David Carpenter and Joseph Auguste Merasty gives an adult perspective to the life-long effects of being sent to a Residential School.
8th Fire: Aboriginal Peoples. Canada and the Way Forward is a 3-DVD collection hosted by Wab Kinew that gives a present day perspective to the continuing relationship between these two cultures.
A MOOC presented through Coursera and by University of Toronto called Aboriginal Worldviews and Education is free to audit. The presenter is Jean-Paul Restoule and presents a current Indigenous perspective through lectures, special guests, readings and videos. For a person beginning to learn about Truth and Reconciliation, this course is an excellent place to start.
A website entitled wherearethechildren.ca captures many residential school survivors and their stories recounted as adults. This heart wrenching series of videos shows the results of the residential school system through the memories of these adults.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has published the “Calls to Action” and that is a great place to start a personal journey to move towards reconciliation with Indigenous people.
Although the past shows the wrongs inflicted upon the indigenous peoples of Canada, the future is looking much brighter. Werklund School of Education recently hosted a Youth Forum, inviting 17 grade 9 students from various parts of Alberta. Working with these students showed how connected and involved they will be in recognizing the importance of having an indigenous voice in education. Working with these students was a teaching and a learning experience.