As students enter college, many of them have more exposure to Indigenous issues in the media and in education. Cody Grote It presents both opportunities and challenges.
An assistant professor in the Department of History and the Indigenous Studies Program at Western University, Grote teaches the first-year introductory course in Indigenous Studies.
Groat is a band member of Kanyen’kehaka (Mohawk). Six Nations on the Grand RiverGrowing up in London and Ingersoll, Ontario, he was never personally exposed to Aboriginal-related content at school.
“In high school, there was absolutely no Indigenous content,” says Groat.
College offers more opportunities to learn, but Groat is surprised by how much this year’s students already know.
“I was shocked to see basic knowledge in high school,” he said. “They are also bringing more opinions.” He said it was expensive.
Based on research by Indigenous scholars, including Professor Eve Tuck of the University of Toronto, the first-year course focuses indigenous resilience to challenge the narrative of victimization. In this approach, lessons in boarding schools focus on indigenous family structures, teachings about land-based learning, and revitalizing languages that correspond to past assimilation strategies, Groat said. increase.
“Media coverage tends to be about trauma and victimization rather than resilience and resistance. I try to show cultural continuity and resistance to state institutions.”
Most students on the course are non-Indigenous, which Groat said also brings perspectives formed outside his Indigenous community.
“I’ll show you how my experience has affected my perspective.”
Students may have a rudimentary knowledge of indigenous issues, but some students may not understand much.
“Take the opportunity to discuss why it happens. It’s not bad if they don’t have some knowledge. “
Coursework encourages students to think about how their understanding develops and deepens during the semester. They write an introductory paper outlining their initial knowledge and by the end of the semester review and rethink their thinking.
Groat’s influence extends beyond the classroom, creating a supportive environment for Indigenous students of the West.
His father, Bill, was a 60’s Scoop survivor, and his grandparents were Mohawk Institute Residential School survivors. Bill passed away earlier this year. In his memory, his children funded the Bill Grote Memorial Award, which provides financial assistance to Indigenous students attending the West. experience and endeavored to ensure that records of similar experiences were made available to the public.
observe national day for truth and reconciliation
On September 30th, Western Observe national day for truth and reconciliationis a federal holiday declared last year in response to a call to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Students, staff, and faculty are encouraged to think about the current relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples, and the shared history that informs that relationship.
“We are all parties to the treaty, which means that everyone at Western has a responsibility to promote truth and reconciliation. , because it’s for all of us – It’s not just Indigenous peoples,” said Christy Bressett, Vice President, Indigenous Peoples Initiative.
Various campus events will be held on September 30th and in the days leading up to it.A complete schedule can be found on the Office of the Indigenous Peoples Initiative website, along with educational information related to truth and reconciliation..