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A must read new book!

I am very excited to share with all of you a new book that I have been reading this week. “Troubling Truth and Reconciliation in Canadian Education: Critical Perspectives,” Edited by Sandra D. Styres and Arlo Kempf. There is so much that I love about this new book! The book has a large variety of authors, providing a critical lens on reconcilation within edcuational spaces in Canada. It tells some hard truths about how difficult the work is and the challenges that educators come up against in trying to shift the education system in place. One of my favourite quotes can be found in the introduction. It states:

“Reconciliation in education is a complex and challenging endeavour that necessitates first identifying the effects of settler colonialism on education practices, and then finding ways to decolonize those practices. It is also fraught to consider (or conceive of) these undertakings in the contexts of ongoing colonialism – like trying to dry off while you were still in the shower with the water running.” (p. xviii Kemp, Styres, Brechbill & El-Sherif)

This quote speaks to me as someone who is immersed in this work on a daily basis, I am in full agreement with the authors. Trying to change the system from within, sometimes feels like a battle in quick sand. But the reason I do this work in Indigenous education is because I have faith that change can happen. I believe that change comes with teaching the truth.

I encourage all educators to read this book. There are so many amazing writers and educators that have contributed to the chapters in this book. Today I want to focus on Chapter 3 by Dawn Zinga, Uncomfortable Realities. Her work speaks directly to me as an educator. Her chapter talks about the challenges of how the work is being done in educational spaces. When we step into this work for change, one of the main things that need to happen is to address issues head on. Zinga says in her chapter:

Consider a lawn care metaphor: if you continue to mow your lawn and use that mowing to address the weeds, then your lawn will continue to have weeds. If instead you go and remove the weed by the root, you will eventually eliminate the weeds. Similarly, if we continue to see our responsibility as simply engaging in conversation about what is happening without examining the root of the issue - and if we fail to engage in ethical space to examine and trouble our biases and ways of knowing to see how they contribute to the root causes- then we will continue to gloss over the issues and fail in attempts at reconciliation.” Zinga p.55

I appreciate Zinga ‘s metaphor. If we never address the roots of racism, oppression, and colonization then true change is not possible. Within my journey in education, I see this as the core of our work as educators in education. When we teach multiple perspectives in classrooms, multi ways of understandings and knowledge, then we will have the opportunity to dig up some roots and change might just be possible. I encourage all educators to pick up this book, sit with the words, engage with the ideas shared, it is so well done. Enjoy the read and I would also love to hear your thoughts on the book.


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