My Miskâsowin process started out with me feeling very unsure and nervous. I didn’t know how to begin and I honestly didn’t know where I was going to end up. I knew how I looked at my identity was going to change, I just didn’t know how or to what extent. As I made my first blog post, I expressed how unaware and at times how uncomfortable I was with this topic and incorporating it into my classroom. I knew I had to find my belonging to help me feel more comfortable and aware. My second blog post was focused on the term Tâpwêwin, the second Cree word I had learned through this process. I learned that through all of this we need to begin with feeling comfortable with our history and the truth (with accuracy) that lies within. The blanket exercise was the activity that helped me find and realize the truth. It was so overwhelming and powerful. From this exercise I was able to identify that I am a white settler, cis-gender, heterosexual. I have also realized how “sacred” (important) my identity is.
My third blog post was based around the pipe ceremony and the significance of what it entailed. This was the week I added the term “female” to my identity. A word I am proud of. I was unable to attend the pipe ceremony due to being on my moon time. However, I learned how purifying and powerful my body is as a female, especially during this time. My body has the power to birth a child, the power to create a beautiful life. This was something I definitely took for granted prior to this pipe ceremony and prior to the realization of how important/sacred the female body truly is. My next blog post was based around appropriation vs. appreciation. I expressed that even when your intentions are good, you need to make sure you are aware of the reality. During my internship did a performance called Christmas around the world. Each classroom was in charge of making costumes and singing songs based on the culture they were given. My grade four classroom had Italy… they dressed as waiters/waitresses and sang a song about how much they love pizza. Unfortunately this judgment was based off of stereotypes rather than truth.
This next week I took a couple steps backward. Even though I had made great progress in my identity as my self and as a teacher, I ended this week questioning my ability to be a great teacher. I knew I could be a great teacher if I were able to keep my students safe and proud. How could I possibly do that when a young boy has died because of his identity? I was back to stage one of feeling uncomfortable and unaware all over again. I have also added fear to my identity. Despite it being a setback I know I am trying to grow from this and know I can still make a difference to at least a few of my future students. This week I had full intentions to move forward in progress again, but unfortunately I did not, instead I took another step back. I was left feeling unsure of what Justin Trudeau should have said during his apology to Colten and his family. It left me wanting more knowledge and education.
My next post was based around white supremacy. We talked about the importance of understanding our own privilege, but pushing back anyway to make progress. The airport walkway was an excellent example of doing so. The next week was focused around the question “should we be celebrating Canada’s 150th? I honestly felt this was a question I would have been originally offended by. Canada is our country, why wouldn’t we celebrate it? But I didn’t feel or think this way. It was a big important question and there is definitely a lot more we should think about on this day.
Next was our fieldtrip to Fort Qu’Appelle. It was very eye opening and powerful and likely had the biggest impact on my Miskâsowin process. I loved the feeling of giving back and saying a prayer. My tenth and final blog post was about our ReconciliACTION event. Our event was to help raise awareness and share the truth of our history so we could help reach reconciliation. Unfortunately there will always be backlash, but we have to keep moving forward on that walkway. I finally feel comfortable and ready for the classroom.
This is a journey I will forever be thankful for. I have learned new things about myself and pushed myself to new limits. I’m proud of this journey and my growth from truth to reconciliation. Thankfully I find that each step I do take backwards I am still learning something from, and maybe even sometimes you need to be tested and made unsure to have further growth. I hope I am able to help my students understand the importance of finding your true identity. My hand represents the root of where I have been planted, and my branches represent my identity, the many new things I have learned, and the importance of this journey.