About the Authors

Joanna: On Being the Good, White Woman

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Co-Author, Joanna Lake

While attending a conference at the University of Victoria (UVic) two summers ago, one of the speakers (Dr. Shauneen Pete) challenged my perspective on colonialism by calling all non-Indigenous people living in Canada “settlers.” I was immediately un-settled, uncomfortable, and unable to disregard the speaker’s statement. After meeting with this presenter and exploring some required readings, I discovered that the Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC) [website] has called upon Canadians to recognize, rethink and reconcile our perspectives towards Indigenous peoples and their knowledge. Although the commission’s findings have been published for almost six years, I was unaware they existed until attending UVic’s conference and listening to a story that confronted my prior knowledge. This ignorance was deeply troubling, as I am an educator and the TRC’s calls to action addresses the need for educators to implement curricular experiences that depict an accurate portrayal of this contentious history, our present tensions, and our collective future. I realized that in order to teach any of these mandates in an authentic, meaningful way, I would have to put in the work. This Master’s project reflects my continuous journey of becoming an settler-educator who is an ally, not a bystander.

Hayley: An Invitation to Teach as a Settler

Co-Author, Hayley Atkins

I am fortunate to be a full time, continuing secondary teacher at the W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Secondary School in the W̱SÁNEĆ  territory on Vancouver Island. My subject areas are math and physical education for grades 7 to 12. The main curriculum documents I draw from include the First Peoples Principles of Learning, the First Nations Education Steering Committee’s Math First Peoples Resource Guide for grades 8 and 9, and the Sport for Life physical literacy curriculum resources. These documents, in conjunction with the British Columbia curriculum documents, support me in expanding content to include other ways of knowing, First Peoples knowledge, and develop personalized learning options for my students.

Learning about the TRC, I became aware of the reality of how harmful, devastating, and scarring the actions of the Canadian Government has been to Indigenous communities. This includes, and is not limited to, residential schools, the 60’s scoop and Metis land and identity infringement, which negatively affects the parents of our students in our classrooms, their perspective on school and education and current relationships with authority figures, including teachers. I will use this awareness as a catalyst for making real fundamental changes in our relationships with First Nations groups and students. I am now aware of strategies and ‘best practices’ for teaching First Nations, Metis, and Inuit students. This consciousness is essential to help build confidence in the education system, and enable educational success for Indigenous students.

I believe that teachers and school districts can provide transformative change for Indigenous students and their families, including the entire school community and other families. The ripple effect of communication and relationship rebuilding will reach out into the community and beyond.


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Facilitating online learning with the 5R's Copyright © 2021 by Joanna Lake and Hayley Atkins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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