Interrupting Canada’s Colonial History Teaching Resource: Shortlisted for 2021 Governor General’s Award for Excellence in Teaching

Detail from Jamboard teaching tool, page 19: “Racism is the Culture”

Reconciliation, according to the TRC Report, “requires that the paternalistic and racist foundations of the residential school system be rejected as the basis for an ongoing relationship” (Honouring the Truth, Reconciling the Future, vi).

This project aims to provide an understanding of Canada’s ongoing colonial history and the racism that keeps it in place so that students can follow the directive provided (above) from the survivors of residential schools.  Canada is currently fulfilling all 5 criteria of the U.N.’s definition of genocide.  Regular citizens are carrying it out, like during the residential school era, and racism is what enables them to do it.  Anti-racist work that helps students recognize and interrupt the behaviours that support colonialism should naturally be our first priority in schools across Canada.

This project is a contribution to facilitating this work.  It consists of a 20-page interdisciplinary Jamboard showing different maps or landscapes that students can interact with online.   It begins with a Land Acknowledgement page which invites students to draw the First Nation territories of the place they occupy.  This is followed by a variety of units that feature Indigenous histories and governance practices for sharing land, numbered treaties, and colonial events from Canadian history.   Each page features lessons with Indigenous teachings—including clips from the Possibility & Pandemic: Indigenous Wisdom in the Time of COVID-19 speaker series—for students to consider for reshaping the society that they want their children to live in.

The project is still a work in progress and has been shortlisted in its developing state. I am hoping to join with collaborators to bring the concept to a finished version that can be shared widely. To hear more about the project listen to the interview with Canada’s History.

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