Consider This: Educating for the Justice of Indigenous People; A Teach-In

I have been working with Indigenous grad students as a faculty advisor in organizing a university wide event aimed at the TRC's Calls to…

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I have been working with Indigenous grad students as a faculty advisor in organizing a university wide event aimed at the TRC's Calls to Action & Reconciliation - hopefully you've heard of it: Educating for the Justice of Indigenous People; A Teach-In. In collaborating with Education Policy Studies, Indigenous Students Strengthening Treaty Relations Through Indigenous Knowledge & Education (I:SSTRIKE), and the Centre for Global Citizenship Education and Research (CGCGER) - all of whom are invested in anti-racist education, Treaty education, and Indigenous knowledge - we've pulled together a range of speakers to address the various aspects of justice for Indigenous people, paying special attention to the recent not-guilty verdicts in the deaths of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine.

Why a Teach-In?

During the Stanley trial, Colten Boushie's life was classified as being worth less than Stanley's property. This classification was supported by a jury who decided that they could identify with Stanley in privileging property over a human life - and they had the institutional power and support of the justice system to do so. There was no regard for Colten's life - not by the individuals who made up the jury and certainly not by Stanley. Where is the humanity? This is the question that we want people to ask themselves in cases such as these.

This is where a teach-in format is important. While public protests are central to bringing attention to an issue and coming together to support each other and signing petitions help push people in positions of power to act, a teach-in allows a space to share knowledge, learn, and have conversations that can be fruitful for people with varying levels of knowledge, experience, and investment in the issue being discussed. A teach-in combines the urgency of dismantling racist and colonial structures with the importance of pausing to consider both what is at stake in such a struggle and the possibilities through which we can unite/come together to do so.

What We Hope to Achieve

The panelists will approach these events from diverse perspectives rooted in Indigenous knowledge and experiences, anti-racist and anti-colonial approaches, critical legal analyses, and artistic production (poetry). There are a number of objectives that we are looking to achieve through this approach, including the creation of a dedicated space for teachers, students, faculty, and community members to discuss, in educational contexts, the recent not-guilty verdicts in the deaths of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine.

It's also our aim to bring in Indigenous Legal Traditions and Indigenous Knowledge as frameworks for justice and to discuss ways in which Indigenous / non-Indigenous people can work together for justice. By the end of the teach-in, it's hoped that those who have attended will be able to think about how we can proceed in good strategic ways that would please our ancestors in support of social and political change for our people.

With stew and bannock plus the panel, the event is one that's both nourishing and politically mobilizing.

Educating for the Justice of Indigenous People; A Teach-In

Thursday, March 22, 2018
Stew & Bannock - 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (2-141 Education North)
Teach-In Panel - 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (2-115 Education North)
Watch via Livestream here. (Note: Adobe Connect required for viewing)
here. (Note: Adobe Connect required for viewing)

Panelists: Panelists:
Sharon Venne, LL.M, International Law Expert
Tamara Starblanket, LL.M, Native Education College, Vancouver
Dr. Sheelah McLean, University of Saskatchewan
Dr. Dia Da Costa, U of A Educational Policy Studies
Krista McFadden, PhD student, Indigenous People's Education & Law Student, UofA
Sarah Auger, PhD Student, Indigenous People's Education, U of A
Billy-Ray Belcourt, PhD Student, English and Film Studies, U of A

Rebecca Sockbeson - Associate Professor, Faculty of Education

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Rebecca is of the Penobscot Indian Nation, Indian Island Maine, the Waponahki Confederacy of tribes located in Maine, United States and the Maritime provinces of Canada. She is the 8th child of the Elizabeth Sockbeson clan, the auntie of over 50 Waponahki & Stoney Sioux youth and the mother of three children who are also of the Alexis Nakota Sioux First Nation of Alberta. A political activist and scholar, she graduated from Harvard University, where she received her masters degree in education. Rebecca worked for the University of Southern Maine for 7 years with racially and ethnically underrepresented populations and went onto engage with her doctoral work here at the University of Alberta. She conferred her PhD in Educational Policy Studies, specializing in Indigenous Peoples Education. Her research focus is Indigenous knowledge, Aboriginal healing through language and culture, anti-racism and decolonization. Her doctoral study engaged with how Indigenous ways of knowing and being can inform policy development.