Throughout this week, I began to think about my experiences with Indigenous culture throughout my life, in my schooling, and throughout my time at university. I have had very limited experience being exposed to another culture in my schooling. My experience of learning about First Nations culture was very narrow. We learned about the “feather and beads” but not the impact of colonization, or residential schools until grade 12. The University of Regina has opened my eyes quite a bit when it comes to learning about Indigenous culture and developing my own critical thinking skills. Coming into university and never being taught about the treaties I find to be very problematic. Coming into university and not having an opportunity to talk to or listen to an elder I find is problematic.
Growing up in a community where white privilege is rampant, I was never exposed to the ideology of an idea of a white person having privilege. I was ignorant to my knapsack of privileges that Peggy McIntosh talks about in her article. I believe that this a gap of our education system. Growing up in a predominantly white community and not having a chance to discuss race issues is a problem. Weyburn is situated about an hour from the nearest First Nations Reserve. Being exposed to First Nations culture, and elders are what I feel is crucial to a community such as Weyburn. Without the proper discussions and without the first-hand experience, and knowledge of Indigenous cultures in my view perpetuates stereotypes.
This week I had the opportunity to participate in a drumming circle, as well as a Pipe Ceremony and feast, as well as had the opportunity to listen to Joseph Naytowhow in my ECS310 class. I have never had an experience like what I had participated in. These experiences allow me to grow my understanding of a culture I need to learn more about. It allows me to grow as an educator because I am able to draw upon strategies such as a drumming circle to include First Nations perspectives.