Monday, March 17, 2014

Permission: Why Cowboys & Indians and Tiger Lily Matter

What was fun about teaching was being able to experience the sense of discovery over and over again. You learn with your students and as they have that spark that brings the fire into their eyes when they engage with their learning, you also feel that spark and you learn something new about what you are teaching as the new perspective brings new knowledge, new understanding, new questions and new wisdom. From the grade two students looking at the little frogs in the classroom aquarium asking questions, I never even thought to ask, about frogs- driving me to look it up with them to share in our learning as students together- to the teenager putting forth her hypothesis on why the Indian Act has evolved the way it has- approaching it from an Indigenous-Feminist viewpoint- I have always come away from the encounter with a new understanding, a new thought, a new appreciation. I hope that it has been the same for my students.

Scrolling the vastness of social media, I have watched an interesting evolution that has been a learning experience for me, but I have wondered if it has been for those that I have interacted with. Seeing the news on Indigenous issues today feels like deja vu. Stories today remind me of stories I was writing about two years ago, only the names have been changed. Two years ago, it was Gwen Stefani and Victoria's Secret and Tonto. Today it is the daughter of the Governor of Oklahoma, the University of Regina Cheer Squad and Tiger Lily. The commentary is the same,  the comments are the same: "get over it," "over-sensitive," "PC police," "it's all in good fun," and on and on and on...