“I Wanted to Save Your Life”

“I Wanted to Save Your Life”

The one sentence that stood out to me the most.

Last week we had the opportunity to attend the Woodrow Lloyd lecture delivered by the Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair on Wednesday night instead of having our usual ECMP class. Now I couldn’t attend this lecture in person because of a wicked cold I have been battling but thankfully it was being broadcasted live and I could listen in.

justice
Photo courtesy of the Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair

Justice Sinclair explained to us how he and many other aboriginal children/people were ashamed of their heritage. When he pried from his Grandmother, “why don’t we speak Cree or Ojibwe in our home? Why must we only speak English?” and her reply was “I wanted to save your life” is the most heartbreaking thing to hear. I couldn’t imagine growing up feeling like I need to hide my heritage.

Many people don’t see how even generations later it is still affecting families. They can’t just “get over it” as I hear many people say. We need to change the way we educate ourselves. We need to change the way we educate our students. We need to better understand each other.

I find myself to be very uncomfortable with this topic because of my lack of knowledge. How can I teach if I don’t understand it myself? I am not saying the University didn’t do a good job at educating us but I feel like I don’t have enough to make a valid opinion. I was definitely ashamed seeing all my other colleagues incorporate Treaty Education into their lessons and classroom and see the amazing things they are doing. Why can’t I do what they do? Why can’t I be as confident as they are? Thankfully Justice Sinclair reassured me so I don’t feel ashamed for my lack of knowledge. I do know that to better myself and better my teaching skills I need to start becoming more knowledgeable. I need to make the first steps and start learning things I don’t know. Thankfully there are so many people willing to help and listen to my concerns and help me become the best I can be.

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3 thoughts on ““I Wanted to Save Your Life”

  1. I think it is very brave of you to admit that you are uncomfortable with this subject due to your lack of knowledge. I believe that if you are honest with your students and peers and say you are willing to learn with them then they will have respect for you. In my opinion it is better to admit that some learning needs to take place to be insincere and try to “fake” your way through it. Being aware of where you stand is the first step in becoming more knowledgeable!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for being so honest in your post. I know that many people share the same fear as you do, I am First Nations and I still share your fear of not know enough. I would just like to say remember that we can always learn from our students as well. It is wonderful to read that you are very open to learning and taking what you learn and applying it to your teaching practices.

    Liked by 1 person

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