"I ASK YOU TO IMAGINE FOR A MOMENT THE EXPERIENCE OF ABORIGINAL PEOPLES IN CANADA. IMAGINE THAT FOR HUNDREDS OF YAERS YOUR PEOPLES' MOST FORMATIVE ACHIEVEMENTS AND TRAUMAS, THEIR DAILY SUFFERING AND PAIN, THE ABUSE THEY LIVE THROUGH, THE TERROR THEY LIVE WITH, ARE IGNORED AND SILENCED."
- Marie Battiste, p. 23
I remember many of the main topics that were discussed in my grade 10 history class: WWI and WWII. I also remember learning about how the United States of America treated their Indigenous population very poorly, but merely scratching the surface of Canada's treatment to Aboriginal people.
Watching 'We Were Children' and reading Chapter 2 of Marie Battiste's Decolonizing Education has impacted me emotionally because I feel as though I have been cheated by not being informed of the forced assimilation and marginalization of First Nations peoples in Canada.
Canada is known internationally as a peace maker. A country that accepts all people regardless of their faith, religion, colour, and social class. This is something that is constantly taught to us in school, so why not also include some aspects of Aboriginal culture that has actually contributed to making Canada? I think the hardest part about reading this is trying to figure out why this all happened in the first place.
However, some light has been shed upon this topic. Canada is not perfect, as no country is. But the situation has improved drastically (I would say) since residential schools were considered the norm. It's sad to know that the last residential school was closed in 1996, but they no longer exist and that is what's important.
I feel as though I am not prepared enough to teach FNMI (First Nations, Metis, and Inuit) history and culture, but I am confident that these small steps to understanding the history of Indigenous populations is an excellent first step for future changes (that I hope will occur) in the Ontario curriculum. It is time that we celebrate the accomplishments of FNMI people and rebuild relationships by connecting and emphasizing this history in the classroom.