TIL: Bill C-33

Today I learned that a bill called “First Nations Control of First Nations Education” is currently under debate between the Assembly of First Nations and the Aboriginal Affairs department. (Apologies for any misinformation as this is not an area of expertise for me.)

From Prime Minister Harper’s website:
“The legislation will ensure First Nations control of First Nations education while establishing minimum education standards, consistent with provincial standards off-reserve. For example, the legislation will require that First Nation schools teach a core curriculum that meets or exceeds provincial standards, that students meet minimum attendance requirements, that teachers are properly certified, and that First Nation schools award widely recognized diplomas or certificates. These requirements do not currently exist… The legislation will also improve transparency and promote accountability by establishing clear roles and responsibilities for First Nation education administrators, and annual reporting requirements. The bill will also allow for the establishment of First Nation Education Authorities. These Authorities will act like school boards in the provincial education system to provide the key secondary support to help ensure that First Nation schools are meeting their requirements under the Act, and are providing a quality education for First Nation students.”

From the AFN website:
“First Nations are calling for real engagement with the federal government on an honourable process that recognizes and supports regional and local diversity to achieve First Nations control of First Nations education based on First Nations rights and responsibilities.  First Nations overwhelmingly rejected federal legislation, Bill C-33, because it was about federal control of First Nations education. In the wake of that rejection, First Nations are calling for a new path forward leading to genuine First Nations control supported by fair, predictable and stable funding for First Nations education.”

From the Bill itself, section 21, which would preclude the possibility of First Nations language immersion schools (not the contrast of ‘is to’ and ‘may; it’s not insignificant coming from a government that has in the long-term played the part of dismantling and erasing First Nations cultures):
“Subject to the regulations, the council of a First Nation is to offer English or French as the language of instruction and may, in addition, offer a First Nation language as a language of instruction… The council of a First Nation may, as part of an education program, give students the opportunity to study a First Nation language or culture.”

From Twitter, the hashtag #IAmRogue on the subject:

I have recently been staggered by how little I know about Canadian First Nations and the issues surrounding their interactions with the Canadian Crown and white privilege. As I do begin to educate myself and practicing listening and caring, you will find there are more posts on First Nations issues here.

Art: Concrete Indians, Nadya Kwandibens

“Seen through the lens of Nadya Kwandibens, being Indigenous in a modern world is a beautiful balance. As a Toronto-based professional photographer and Ojibwe/Anishinaabe of the Northwest Angle #37 First Nation in Ontario, Canada, Kwandibens has spent years capturing the spirit of today’s Indigenous Peoples in a manner that highlights the unique way Native identity intersects with contemporary life.”

Beautiful photographs. See more here.

Foundland Fridays: Soap Utopia

This recommendation is close to my heart because I love Canadian-made, and I also love natural beauty products. Soap Utopia makes gorgeous, natural soaps in Oakville, Ontario. I love the Baby Me unscented baby soap for the boys, and Steven and I use the Muskoka Boathouse and Oakmoss scents because they’re nice and unisex (well, they’re unisex if you’re me and you’re not into ultra-feminine, floral scents). I also love the lip-balms, they work better for me than anything I’ve bought at a drugstore (including Burt’s Bees) and have lovely scents. Lily treats her customers well and I won’t buy any other soaps for our family. Four-bar bundles for $22.60 with flat-rate shipping.

Listen Hard

I’ve been reading the Native Appropriations blog and really enjoyed this post on the phenomenon of hipster headdresses. It also represents a beautifully articulated discourse on the subject of listening to the marginalised in general:

“I’m trying to think of examples of things I respect, and how I show that respect. I’m actually struggling to think of a time when I respected something, and decided the best way to show that respect was by taking it. I respect the Dalai Lama, but I wouldn’t put on Tibetan monk robes to show that respect. I respect the Zapatistas, but I’m not going to don a mask and wrap myself in an EZLN flag. You know how I show respect? I listen. I listen hard, I listen deeply, and I listen constantly. I listen to stories, I listen to histories, I listen to learn, and I listen to hear when I’ve misstepped. I listen so I can become a more complete human being. It is clear from your response that maybe you heard, but you didn’t listen. If you would have listened to our voices as Native community members, you would have seen that the way to show respect to your Native friends and neighbors was not to put on a headdress and defend your choice, but to take it off and apologize.”

Homeschooling: Canadian Geography

We’ve begun a very informal brand of preschool homeschool in which I have designated each weekday two subjects and if we have time, I come up with a quick activity related to that subject for while Feral Kid is napping. Tuesdays are for History/Geography and Phys. Ed (because it’s normally our swimming day; I want to make it our skating day in the wintertime.)

Today we did an introduction to the provinces of Canada. We spent about an hour on this (guided by Scout Kid’s interest) and did the following:
-Colouring maps of Canada, including drawing Scout Kid’s house and Grandmommy’s house, not to scale.
-Singing a song of the provinces that my mum invented for us years ago, slightly modified to fit in Nunavut because when I was your age there was no Nunavut. I might make a video of Scout Kid and I singing it sometime, once he learns to actually say the words instead of humming along in nonsense-language.
-Reading Paddle-to-the-Sea and tracing his route along the maps we had coloured.
-Zooming in and out on the satellite view of Canada on Google Maps. We talked about how the different colours meant water, trees, rocks, snow, mountains, and fields, and I showed him our house, and Northern Canada, and Hudson Bay and the Rocky Mountains.

*Disclosure: book link through my Amazon Associates account.