Summary Of Learning

Our ECS 110 has come to an end. I have taken the time to look back and reflect on my new knowledge and I am astonished over how much I have learned. I am now able to confidently discuss a variety of topics I never thought I would ever be able to discuss. After ECS 110 I feel better prepared to continue my educational journey to become an educator. This course has covered many topics that will benefit me as a future teacher.

We were asked to make a digital summary of the knowledge we have gained over this semester. You can take a look at my video below!

References:

What does Canada 150 mean for Indigenous communities? 

Debunking the “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps myth”

How small is too small of a community to transition in?

What’s wrong with disability awareness?

Is Everyone Really Equal?

Along that Gravel Road 

Don’t Limit Me

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Self in Relation Response

  1. Normative Narrative

Going through and reading many of my classmate’s blog posts and stories about their own experiences in the topics of race and gender, I realize that some of my fellow peers share the same type of story that I do on the topic of gender. In my blog post related to gender, I explained the moment when I first felt gendered. It was at a young age that I realized that boys and girls are very different from each other. I was taught from a very young age that girls did this, and boys did that. We played with different things, had different jobs, and most importantly acted in very different ways from one another. I, being the baby of the family and the only girl, quickly fell into the “girl roles,” and found myself often living up to those expectations.

I realized after a few short reads of some of my peer’s blogs that lots of us shared the same knowledge of gender and what it means to be a “girl”. In Shaylee’s blog post, regarding gender, she shared the same type of story. “Obviously if you were a little girl, you would play dress up with mom and have tea parties, then when mom wasn’t looking you would sneak into her makeup bag and pretend to be Barbie.” Shaylee at that age did not understand that she was playing the roll of the “girl,” but along with the environment around her, she also fell into the gender rolls. Not only did Shaylee and I share the same stories of our childhood, but so did Ashley. Ashley and her sister always played Barbie’s together, but when they had boy friends coming over, they instantly assumed that they could not be playing Barbie’s with the boys. “Neither of us has to say anything to the other, but we both safely assume that neither of the boys will enjoy playing Barbie’s with us, so we suggest playing outside instead.” Again, Ashley and her sister were never taught directly that boys didn’t like Barbie’s, but through media and the environments around them, they had adapted to the gender roles just like Shaylee and I did.

Now, it is not that any of us did anything wrong, or were taught wrong. It just is simply how it was when we were growing up. The boys played with action figures and the girls played with dolls.  From the article we read in class, “Girls are Pink, Boys are Blue: On Toddlers and Gender Rolls, Eliot tells Helena de Bertodano of the Times of London: “the brains of boys and girls aren’t really that different at all; it’s the social conditioning they receive that makes them pick up and internalize gender rolls.” Boys and girls are not all that different, it is the way we were raised and the institution we are placed in is what we learn to become. Gender roles are shown through actions, they aren’t just born with the individual. Shaylee, Ashley and myself have all been institutionalized into the “girl gender rolls.”

 

  1. Disrupting the Normative Narrative

From the minute we are born and welcomed into this world, we are instantly gendered and under the impression of what we will become and do in our lives. The first time your parents hold you, they begin to have thoughts of what their son or daughter will be. If they have a son, they instantly start thinking about the endless opportunities they will have getting the hands in the dirt and working alongside their father. If you are a girl, your mother instantly begins planning tea parties and shopping for the cutest dresses for you. The moment we are welcomed into this world, we begin to be gendered in every aspect of our lives. We, as young people, instantly lose the option to become anything else we choose because from birth you are either female or male. You either get carried out of the hospital wearing pink or blue.

This is the case for many young individuals, this was the case for Shaylee, Ashley, and I. We were constructed into our “normal” gender roles, and being comfortable where we were, we never had a thought of disrupting those roles. However, after reading more of my classmate’s blogs, I noticed one of my peers, in particular, wanted to overpower those roles and become the person she wanted to be and not the person she was born into. Jess, in her blog post, comments on how she did not fall into the gender rolls that were assigned to her and instead she did what she enjoyed and what made her happy. She didn’t care that it wasn’t “normal,” because to her she didn’t feel normal doing the things that girls were supposed to like doing. “Not about me being a boy, obviously, but about the fact I really did only like what was considered “boy things.” I preferred tag, grounders and kickball at recess, and finally I realized that I actually really hated hopscotch and jump rope.” Jess wasn’t afraid to overcome the gender rolls and play with the boys, she no longer cared what people said about her because she was being herself, she no longer had to hide behind any mask. “I was name called the “tomboy” for everything I did. But I never paid those people any mind. After all, what’s wrong with being a tomboy?”

So, where can we go from here? In the article “Girls are Pink, Boys are Blue: On Toddlers and Gender Roles”, Eliot suggests that “it isn’t as easy as giving a girl a ray gun and having a boy play with My Little Pony: ‘Many parents have tried this, to little effect. Girls turned trucks into families, boys played catch with the dolls, and both sexes knew there was something fishy going on.’” To dismantle the gender binary, parents, teachers, grandparents, etc., need to be prepared and welcoming to the idea of dismantling the specific gender rolls taught to children. Society needs to become more welcoming to the individuals who wish to overcome their gender rolls and just be themselves happily and freely. Jess was a good example of someone overcoming their gender rolls and not falling into a specific way of life. I find it truly inspiring when young individuals will stand up for the way of life they wish to choose, after all everyone should have the right to be happy.

Dismantle the Myth

Gender binary is: “a concept or belief that there are only two genders and that one’s biological or birth gender will align with traditional social constructs of masculine and feminine identity, expressions and sexuality.”  Sometimes in this binary sex, gender and sexuality are assumed for individuals. Gender binary excludes people who identify themselves in any different way other then a male or a female. It does not allow individual people, to be individuals. People are put into two distinct identity roles and they are expected to follow those expectations that are held towards those specific genders.

In the article Girls are Pink, Boys are Blue: On Toddlers and Gender Roles, we can see how early, an individual is being introduced to their given “identities,” the fathers encouraged assertive behavior, while the mothers encouraged cooperation and fairness. Children pick up on the differences between their mother and father, and they act towards that. The boys will become assertive and the girls will learn fairness and cooperation just like their mothers taught them. The boys are taught to “be a man.” The video clip, The Mask You Live in, considers the masculinity of males. The construction of masculinity that has been developed doesn’t give young boys a way to feel secure in their masculinity, so they are always trying to prove themselves to others. Young boys are taught that they are not allowed to cry, they aren’t allowed to show their feelings and express themselves. They must cover their true selves up into a mask and hide it from the rest of their peers. The Miss Representation Trailer investigates into what it means to be a girl in colonial society. At a very young age, girls are taught that it is all about their looks. No matter what other achievements a woman can have, all of that is overlooked by their physical appearance.  

When gender roles are taught at such a young age it makes it very hard for an individual to overpower those roles and become their own person. It is important to disrupt gender binary because as society progresses, we begin to see more and more young people breaking the gender roles that are applied to them. To have an accepting world we must broaden our horizons and allow people to be themselves freely, with no restrictions or hatred put towards them as human beings. My part in undoing gender would be to learn and respect all different people’s beliefs and wishes. To stop looking at the world from one lens and try to step into others shoes and understand the challenges they face because they want to challenge the “normal” gender roles. As individuals that want to make a change, we must first start with ourselves. Stop worrying about fitting in and instead be the person you aspire to be. To dismantle this myth, I believe it all starts with media and media representation. Stop teaching children what roles they must fall into and start teaching them to freely express themselves in which ever way they choose.

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.

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.

Along that Gravel Road

Twisting and turning along the uneven gravel roads, my grandfather explains the life he has lived. As we slowly drive down the gravel roads and through memory lane, we stop to appreciate the scenery. There is a little rusty, old, red barn, still standing in my great grandfather’s homestead. The only building left to represent all that my great grandfather did for our family.

This is how the story began; the crisp Saskatchewan air creeps into the little farm house. As the sun slowly rises for another day of work, the house begins to creak and moan as one by one the family begins to awaken. Many years ago, my great grandfather started our little family farm from the ground up with his wife and eleven children. They began a lifestyle that would be passed down through generations. The farm is what we knew, it was our way of life.

“All throughout the year, us boys took care of the outdoor chores; feeding the pigs, chickens and cows as well as making sure everything was in tip top shape for seeding and harvest when that time of year rolled around. The girls had very different jobs compared to the boys. They were expected not to miss a day of school; your great grandpa always said, ‘the girls are going to go far; they will become your future doctors.’ Well your great grandfather was wrong on the doctor part, but he did know the girls were very smart. Along with school the girls had the responsibility to help Granny with the house work; cleaning, cooking and of course making Grannies famous bread. You have no idea how great my mother’s bread was!

“Now you see, winter was a big season to keep the livestock well and healthy. However, it was spring and fall that made ends meet. Harvest was your great grandfather’s biggest investment. Day in and day out he wouldn’t want to be doing anything else, but working on the farm.

“I should say this though; your great grandfather did not expect all of us boys to stay with the farm once they got older. He wanted the boys, and of course the girls, to pursue any career they had their mind set on and so, many of them went off and did bigger things. As one by one some of my brothers and sisters would leave the farm, my dad would never forget to say this one thing; ‘you may leave the farm, but don’t forget, the farm will never leave you.’

“Your great grandfather started this family production with 160 acres; with the help of your five great uncles, five cousins, your brother, your father and I; we have grown the family farm to withstand twenty-two thousand acres. I know in my heart and in this land, and if your great grandfather was with us today; he would be giving all of us a pat on the back. He would be smiling and saying; ‘you did good my boys.’”

Grandpa and I took those long gravels roads back to Grandma’s house for lunch. Going over each bump and hill will always send butterflies up into my chest; the best feeling in the world. Many things can describe someone as a “Saskatchewan Person,” but what describes my version is the farm that my great grandfather started back in the old days; with the little red barn standing up in the original homestead. These are my roots, a place I can always fall back to when life gets hard.

Just remember; “some of us may leave the farm, but the farm will never leave us.”

As the Dust is Flying

Home is not the walls I grew up in; home is the people that lived with me inside those walls. Home is the sun beating through the window on September Saturday mornings and watching the dust hang in the air from the previous night’s harvest. The noise has now settled and peace is restored once again; even if it is only for a short amount of time. The smell of mom and dad’s morning coffee lingers up through the air vents and into my room. Their home is my home.

Once seven hits, the rush is on. Lunches are made and packed and out the door he goes; another work day in the field. Mom and I say goodbye to the peacefulness of the house as one by one the combines leave the yard. The dust again ascends into the air and the peace will not be recovered until dusk approaches on another harvest night.

The sizzling bacon is what really motivates me to wake up. I drag myself out of bed, shuffle down the stairs to find bacon and eggs waiting for me on the family table. My mother waits for me to get seated before she makes up her plate. Comfort warms my body as Mom and I share yet another Saturday morning breakfast together. However, we know not to get to comfortable; our work day has just begun.

While Dad is in the field, mom busies herself in the kitchen, preparing the meal for the men’s supper. Meat, potatoes, veggies, and of course, dessert are all prepared fresh that day. Every pot and pan we own is sprawled over the kitchen counters. Measuring cups, spatulas and wooden spoons are filled with all kinds of ingredients. Organization is not always key in mom’s kitchen! Oven timers beeping and electric mixers are spiraling out of control to ensure the dessert is done for the evening. All this work for the men that will devour it in seconds, give a quick thank you and head right back to work.

As Mom is working in her messy kitchen, I sit at the family table. Papers and bills are spread as chaotically as mom’s dishes; harvest is a busy time of year. As I aimlessly look over my English notes, Mom has the radio on. She hums and sings to whatever “Dirty Dancing” song is on at the moment. I, not being to involved in my work join in with her singing. This is what home looks like to me. Mom in the kitchen and me doing my homework. It has been like this since I can remember, and it will stay like this for years to come.

Crunch time is near, time to get the truck packed and get Mom sent off to the field with the delicious meal she has prepared. As I help her pack the clinking of cutlery and cup mixes with the noise of combines in the distance. A rush of happiness and “homeness” comes out of the oven as the comforting food is pulled out. Mom’s cooking would make anyone feel at home.

We are off to the field; the overpowering scents of meat and potatoes makes your stomach growl with every sniff. We arrive at the field, and the men gobble down the food, as if it’s the last meal they will ever get to eat. Supper is finished in a hurry and the combines start up once again leaving the dust to linger behind them.

Another work day is in the books. The dust is once again settled onto the trees and the grass and peace, once again returns throughout the house. The kitchen is cleaned and relaxation falls over our weary faces and tired bodies. When we wake up tomorrow, we will start the routine all over again. Home is not the walls that surround me, but the busy September Saturday’s. Home is the farm, with my loving parents.