Oh those Boys

The bright air is shining through my bedroom window on this early Monday morning. Today is the day, my first day of kindergarten. I spring out of bed and run to the bathroom to go through my morning routine. I scrub my teeth as hard as I can to make sure they are sparkling white before I go back to my bedroom. It is decorated with pink and purple wallpaper, with flower stickers plastered on every wall. I pull out the brand-new outfit my mom got me for my first day of school. It is, of course, a pink sparkly top that flows loose so it can blow freely in the wind as I walk toward the bus. Underneath my sparkly pink top, I wear a soft pair of purple jeans. Mom says it does not match, but I do not care; I want to show all my new friends my favorite colors.

I live on a farm, so today will be my first day that I get to meet friends other then my dog and my brother, Zach. I hope there are lots of girls in my class. It will be fun to play Barbie’s with someone who doesn’t rip their heads off like my brother always does.

I give my mom a big bear hug and then my brother and I are off to the bus. Our driveway is too long for my little legs to keep up with my brother; he walks so fast. My pink light up shoes clunk as I walk up the big bus steps. I find a seat in the front and sit down. The bus ride is very long and my excitement continues to grow the closer we get to town. I was hoping someone would sit with me on the bus, but Zach told me no one would want to sit with me because I am just a little girl.

We arrive at the school and I jump off the bus and run through the school doors. The walls are green and white and the hallway seems to go on for miles. Zach takes me to the kindergarten classroom and then he goes to find his. My first day of school is about to begin!     As I walk through the big clunky door, I see something I was not expecting. Blue and green everywhere. Boys running around playing with blocks and action figures. I soon come to realize that I am going to be the only girl in the Kindergarten class this year.

We all sit down to introduce ourselves. We are asked to share our name, age and our favorite toy to play with.

“Hi, my name is Evan. I am 5 years old and I love to play sports.”

“Hi, my name is Mitchell. I am 5 years old and my favorite thing to play with is mutant ninja turtles.”

“Hi, my name is Tyler. I also am 5 years old and my favorite thing to play with is my action figures.”

“Hi, my name is Sydney. I am 5 years old and my favorite things to play with are my Barbie’s.”

A burst of laughter shoots through the air as I finish my sentence. Mrs. Koski tells the boys to calm down and let me finish speaking, but I have nothing else to say. I am too scared they are going to laugh as soon as I open my mouth again.

My first day is long and boring. I do not meet anyone to play Barbie’s with, or anyone who could come have sleepovers. I gather my pink backpack and put on my pink light up shoes and walk out to catch my bus to go home. Maybe tomorrow I will try wearing blue instead.

My first day of kindergarten is when I realized who I was and understood that there is a difference between boys and girls. I went through all my school years with those boys, girls would come and go, but in the end, that was my graduating class. The three boys and myself grew up together.

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Treaty Ed Camp Response

It was required that our ECS 110 class to attend the Treaty Ed Camp on October 21, 2017. The day opened with a traditional pipe ceremony both for men and women, followed by the opening blessing and the keynote speaker, Charlene Bearhead.

Charlene opened her presentation stating that she was a mother and a grandmother. Charlene is an Indigenous woman that lives in Alberta. Her main topic of the event was we are all treaty people and we all have the responsibility for treaty education and reconciliation.

Another important topic Charlene discussed throughout her presentation was that we are all really treaty people, but other than Indigenous people, who really knows what the term “treaty people” is and how does it really help us in our lives? I really considered this point. I understand that I am a treaty person since I live on treaty 4 land, but what does that really mean for me? I never took the time to consider how being a treaty person helps me, I am now interested to know what being a treaty person does for me.

Charlene also covered the topic of the lack of treaty education that has been taken effect in Saskatchewan and Canada. Before starting at the University of Regina, and before listening to Charlene’s presentation, I did not realize how undereducated I was. I thought I had a pretty good idea about treaty Ed, but after being in Indigenous Studies 100 class, ECS 110 and taking part in Treaty Ed camp, I realize I only knew one side of the story. To me that is very heartbreaking to think that the country I live in hides so much of our history.

Charlene stated that if we do not take the stand and start teaching both sides of history nothing will ever change, we will never grow or get past our history if we do not confront and face the problems history has created. She emphasises that she does not want people to not be ashamed to be white, but states that we should move on and educate other people. She recognizes that people who talk about and teach treaty education will always have resistance towards their teaching, but it is something we will just have to get used to.  As educators and people of society, it is our job to make the change our world needs to see. Charlene finished her presentation with the quote “intentions don’t make the difference, actions make a difference. It takes the will, the courage, and the humility to make a change.” As a future educator, I understand that teaching a broad view of the history of Canada will make a difference for the future.

After Charlene finished her presentation everyone separated into various sessions. I personally took something away from each of the open conversation sessions. I attended the “lack of treaty 4 representation in public treaty 4 spaces?” In this open conversation we discussed why we thought that we can represent the Canadian flag, the Saskatchewan flag, the Queen City flag but not the treaty 4 flag? Most of the people including me did not even know what the treaty 4 flag looks like. These open conversations allowed people to discuss their feelings about a subject without being ridiculed for what they had to say. It was a safe environment for people to speak their own opinions.

Along with volunteering and taking part in the keynote speaker and some sessions, I feel very empowered to act in treaty education, not just when I become a teacher, but now when I am going through my schooling. It was a very well-organized day and I would recommend it to many schools and people.

Welcome to the Family

Christmas break comes in a hurry in our household. The excitement of our Disneyland trip vibrates throughout the house as we pack the car and hit the road to the Regina airport. My older brother and I have been waiting for this trip since the middle of August and now it is finally here!

Before we board our flight to go to California, we will be stopping to meet our new little cousins for the first time. The kids have been around for awhile but with all our busy lives it has still not seemed to work for us to get to see them; or for them to have time to drive down to see us. I am over the moon thrilled to meet my little cousins!

We arrive in Regina at around ten o’ clock in the morning, which means we have time for a two-hour visit before we must get to the airport. My auntie and uncle live in a pretty little residential area of Regina, full of cute little houses and many families. As we drive through the neighborhood I notice all the young families playing outside in this beautiful winter weather.

As we pull up to the drive way we park right outside the front porch of my uncles’ little, red house. We all unload ourselves out of the vehicle and head up the old, cracked cement walkway. I take the liberty of ringing the doorbell, ding dong ding dong. My auntie quickly swings the door open, welcoming us into their home.

My body begins to shake all over with anxiousness as I slowly walk around the corner to go meet the new additions to our family. Once I take my last step around the corner, my feet halt at who I see next. To my surprise there is a little black girl sitting on the floor playing with her building blocks. My parents forgot to mention to us that auntie and uncle had adopted a little Ethiopian girl.

Standing there, staring at our new little cousin, I was in a slight state of shock. I was not expecting to come meet my little black cousin, I was expecting to meet my little white cousins. I shortly got over the state of denial I was in, and then curiosity took over my thoughts. Is she going to fit in with the white dominant neighborhood?  Will people accept her different color? Is she going to make lots of friends? Will my auntie and uncle love her as much as they love their little white son? These questions, among many more, are rushing through my mind as I sit and play with the multicolored stacking blocks with her.

The age of ten was the moment when I realized that there are different skin tones in the world. Living in a small-town community dominated by Caucasians, I did not have a day to day reminder that there are more people in the world and not just the dominant white people. With my little cousin entering the family, it became very clear to me that white people may be the dominant group of society, however there are more people and cultures that we are not educated about. My ten-year-old self had a hard time processing this new realization at the time.