Thursday, January 28, 2010

Aboriginal Initiatives - let's start the conversation

Artemis Fire has contributed a post to get the conversation going on the strategic theme of Aboriginal Initiatives. Thank you, Artemis.

Click "Read more" to see the entire post, then please add your comments to the discussion. New to blogging? See How to post a comment.

Please also see the post summarizing the Jan 27 discussion event on this theme - it will be published tomorrow.

Over to you, Artemis. --Scott

Douglas College campuses and training centres are situated on the traditional lands of the Coast Salish peoples. We currently have an office of Aboriginal Student Services, we are moving toward having an Aboriginal gathering space, and, in some programs, we have developed Aboriginal streams. What should the College do to better meet the program and service needs of Indigenous learners?

Aboriginal Initiatives - Artemis Fire, Co-ordinator and Instructor for the Aboriginal Child and Youth Care Stream of the Douglas College CYCC Diploma Program

As an institution that has grown out of colonial values and traditions, many believe that it is time to honour the peoples whose territories we live, work and study in, to show our gratitude and in a deliberate act of reconciliation. These peoples were excluded from post-secondary education for so long and harmed through the context of an educational system.

What would that honouring look like? How would we build stronger connections to those communities and have them guide us in a collaborative way? Are we ready for that meaningful relationship building? Are we ready to learn other ways of being, perceiving, supporting, researching, teaching and learning?

There are traditional protocols to follow in this process in order to do it in a respectful way. How can we educate ourselves in this area to create a learning environment that welcomes peoples from the many First Nations here in BC, as well as the diverse cultures of First Nations, M├ętis and Inuit peoples from across Canada? How will the elders, the knowledge keepers of these lands, contribute to this process?

If we do this, what will our school look like and feel like to our Indigenous students? What will our classrooms look like? Our curriculum? Textbooks? Support services? What kind of funding structures will we need?

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Now what do you think? Let's hear your comments on the theme of Aboriginal Initiatives.

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