Toward a Cree Understanding of Colonialism: A Teaching Model
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It is a common truth that in order to understand were we are at today we need to understand how we got here—we need to understand our history. More than ever our youth need the understanding and empowerment that comes from being able to make a personal connection between our Peoples’ historical experiences and our current conditions. Without an understanding of where we are at today it can be an overwhelming challenge to face the future with hope and enthusiasm. The history of Indigenous Peoples is often taught in an alienating vacuum with disempowering and frustrating results. Many youth today find little connection between life as they know it and the “noble savage” rendition or the more common “the Indians” approach that objectifies and distances them from their past even more. “Towards a Cree Understanding of Colonialism” tells the story of how we came to be in the situation we are in today by placing the student in the centre of his/her learning experience and providing them with hands-on analytical tools. The foundations of this teaching model are traditional Teaching Circles which explain how our families and communities related, functioned, and flourished prior to European intrusions. The old ways are then systematically dismantled as new ways were introduced, imposed & eventually internalized. Personal enlightenment and empowerment comes from decolonizing ourselves at the individual level— decolonization is where we are at today as we strive to create a place for ourselves on our terms in the society that envelopes us.