University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
The Student Teachers Anti-Racism Society (STARS) promotes anti-racism education at the College of Education, University of Saskatchewan through the support of the College. We work collaboratively to understand, identify, and address individual and systemic racism and its interlocking forms of oppression based on gender, sexuality, ability, class, religion and other socially constructed categories. We believe that anti-racist and decolonizing education, when woven together, can create humanizing and emancipatory change for everyone.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Environmental Racism: Video Resources

Environmental racism is a topic that is rarely taken up in classrooms but is one of the most glaring examples of how Indigenous and racially oppressed land and bodies are racialized as insignificant. All of the following video clips can be used to introduce students to environmental racism, a global epidemic that is rooted in colonialism and artificial racial hierarchies. How do we, as a society, justify and ignore environmental racism? These powerful video clips can create critical understandings of how space and bodies are racialized (whose land and bodies matter) and lead to community action. Thanks to Sheelah M, Marcia M and Janice R for sharing these resources.
Some of the clips below will be shown at the March 2 STARS event (4 - 5:30 room 2060 in the College of Education, U of S). We hope you can join us!
Check out these powerful links:
Land of Oil and Water: Aboriginal Voices on Life in the Oil Sands

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Frames of war: The politics of ungrievable life

Sheelah M. shared this link. She'll be using some of this broadcast in her STARS presentation at the March 26 conference. A very important piece on dehumanization processes through the media. Thank you Sheelah.


Professor Butler presents from her forthcoming book from Verso,
Frames of War: The Politics of Ungrievable Life. Butler explores the way that recent US-led wars have enforced a distinction between those lives that are recognized as grievable, and those that are not. Extending the argument of Precarious Life (Verso, 2004), Butler argues that process of differential grieving is enacted through media forms that have become part of the very waging of war. This situation has led to the first-world destruction and abandonment of populations who do not conform to the prevailing norm of the human. Such ungrievable populations are framed as never having been “lives” at all, and so already lost from the living from the start. Cast as threats to human life as we know it, rather than as living populations, such populations become targeted for destruction in order to protect the lives of “the living”. This disparity, Butler argues, has profound implications for why and when we feel horror, outrage, guilt, loss and righteous indifference, both in the context of war and, increasingly, everyday life. In this lecture on media – in its broadest sense – and war, Butler focuses on the question: what are the conditions under which a life can be apprehended as a life, and loss openly mourned? Judith Butler is Maxine Elliot Professor in the Departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley.

White Privilege & Anti-Racist Cartoons

The cartoons provided on this post can be used to open space for students to think critically about and understand local racialized contexts and white privilege. Both of the cartoons highlight the 'myth of meritocracy' or the false belief that there is equal opportunity if one works hard enough. The cartoons also demonstrate how white privilege is normalized and often difficult to recognize. It is also important to highlight what the cartoons may not explain. For example, students could be left with the impression that equity initiatives alone can lead to racial equality. Anti-racism education requires more. We must also learn how to identify, dismantle and counter the racist ideas and practices that are used to justify and maintain racialized hierarchies. For more cartoons check out http://www.leftycartoons.com/category/antiracist/.

This cartoon was found at a blog called Double Consciousness:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

EraceISM: March 26 STARS Conference Featuring Emma LaRocque!

In Recognition of the United Nation’s
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
STARS presents:

EraceISM: Anti-racism in Action!

(click on her name for more information about her empowering and important work)

From Defeathering to Re-feathering:
A Personal and Intellectual Inventory of Education, Culture and Social Change
Concluding Speaker: Dr. Alex Wilson
Racebook: Social Networking for Social Activism

Free! To Register Email stars.march26@usask.ca

Saturday, March 26

Registration: 9:00 / Conference: 9:30 - 3:30 pm

Everyone Welcome!

Registration Deadline: March 22

PD Certificate & Resource Package Included!


Followed by the SIA's Cultural Festival: Performances, Snacks & Refreshments

3:30 - 6:30pm (come & go)

Open to the Public! Bring Your Friends & Family!


Conference Agenda:

REGISTRATION (9:00 - 9:30)
INTRODUCTIONS (9:30 - 9:45) 1004 EDUC
KEYNOTE (9:45 – 11:00) 1004 EDUC
From Defeathering to Re-feathering: A Personal and Intellectual Inventory of Education, Culture and Social Change, Dr. Emma LaRocque. Dr. LaRocque will review three decades of deconstructing stereotypes and reconstructing "Native Studies" in a university setting. She will consider the pitfalls of employing "culture" in the context of the very dominant western narrative. What though will bring about meaningful social transformation? Dr. Emma LaRocque is a scholar, author, poet, social and literary critic, and professor in the Department of Native Studies, University of Manitoba. She is author of two books: When the Other Is Me: Native Resistance Discourse 1850-1990 (2010), and the groundbreaking bookDefeathering The Indian (1975), and has written extensively on Canadian historiography and mis/representation, colonization, racism, Métis identity, violence against women, and contemporary Aboriginal literatures. In 2005 Dr. LaRocque received the prestigious Aboriginal Achievement Award. She is originally from a Cree-Métis community in northeastern Alberta.
CONCURRENT SESSIONS I (11:10 – 12:00) A 2002 EDUC, B 2005 EDUC, C 2009 EDUC, D 1004 EDUC
A. Environmental Justice and Youth Activism, Margaret Kress-White. Margaret will talk about her work with Dene youth in Northern Saskatchewan who are actively involved in ecological justice and water issues. Margaret works in the fields of community development, recreation and education, and advocacy. She is presently employed as a Student Advisor at SIAST, a sessional lecturer in Educational Foundations, U of S, and a PhD student in Transformative Education at the University of Manitoba. Her research areas include critical analysis and intersections of ableism, environmental racism, and Indigenous Knowledge.
B. Deconstructing Islamophobia, Sheelah Mclean. This session will focus on the impact Islamophobia has on our communities and will provide media literacy resources that can be used to understand and address anti-Muslim racism. Sheelah McLean is a teacher with the Saskatoon Public system, and an instructor with the College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan. She is the Co-Chair of the STF Council SAFE (Social Justice and Anti-racist Anti-oppressive Forum on Education) and currently a PhD student in Anti-racist Anti-oppressive education.
C. 1) Anti-Racist Education: Taking a Look at One's Self, Sherry Sansom. As a graduate of SUNTEP, Sherry witnessed situations in the college that related to racism and continued to recognize this in the work force as a teacher in an employment equity position. As an ally of anti-racist education she considers herself an asset in the public school division. In this session, Sherry will share some of her experiences and talk about the importance of self-knowledge in anti-racist education. Sherry is currently obtaining a Masters degree in Educational Foundations and is Métis Dene, originally from La Loche, Saskatchewan.
C. 2) Implementing Anti-Racism Strategies in Schools, Sheila Pocha. Sheila will discuss the importance of strategically implementing cultural responsiveness and anti-racist education into annual school planning documents and to persevere in the ally work that is extremely significant for all children to succeed in school. Sheila is a proud Métis woman who works consistently as an advocate for anti-racism and social justice. She is an elementary administrator with Saskatoon Public Schools and was the Director of SUNTEP, where she ensured students gained a stronger cultural identity and critical approach to education. Sheila has extensive experience volunteering with community organizations and is currently a member of the National Family Literacy Panel, the vice-chair of Quint Development Corporation and chair of the inner-city social justice enterprise center Station 20 West.
LUNCH (12:00 - 12:30) 1005 EDUC/Student Lounge
CONCURRENT SESSIONS II (12:30 – 1:20) A 2002 EDUC, B 2005 EDUC, C 2009 EDUC, D 1004 EDUC
A. Reflections on Aboriginal Engagement at the University of Saskatchewan, Murray Hamilton. This session will explore why there is an ongoing need for Aboriginal teacher education programs. Murray is of Métis ancestry and is originally from Lebret, Saskatchewan. He spent his formative years in Lebret and believes it's history and people shaped his identity and worldview. He has spent most of his life advocating issues of concern to the Métis, particularly education initiatives. He is currently the Program Coordinator for the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP Saskatoon) at the University of Saskatchewan.
B. Racism in Disney, Breanne Cooper, Nathan Yaworski, Michelle Lee & Andra Gislason. Although Disney movies have been a staple in homes around the world for decades, their messages are not always friendly. Many Disney films contain racial stereotypes and distorted assumptions about various cultural groups. By critically looking at racism within these "child-friendly" classics, we can more effectively educate our students and children about the hegemonic strategies employed in Disney and other animated productions. Nathan Yaworski is in his first year of Education and has spent the past four years studying History at the U of S, with a special focus on Canadian history. He plans to teach History and English at the high school level, and is eager to implement the skills he's been learning in order to help create socially and culturally aware learners. Michelle Lee is in her first year of Secondary Education and is also working towards a Bachelors of History. Her teaching areas are Social Studies and English. Breanne Cooper is from Saskatoon and is in her first year of Education at the University of Saskatchewan. She is planning on teaching Native Studies and English at the secondary level and is excited to incorporate anti-racism education into her teaching. Andra is from Foam Lake, Saskatchewan and is currently taking Education at the University of Saskatchewan. Her teaching areas are Social Studies and English and she hopes to eventually become a special needs teacher.
C. 1) Meanings of Development in Indigenous Land: A Colonial and Postcolonial Story, Ranjan Datta. Historically, Indigenous people have been seriously threatened by government development projects whereas Indigenous knowledge or experiences have been significantly undermined in numerous ways. The colonial and post-colonial anti-racist discourse analysis on Indigenous relationships in science and social science studies are helpful in finding out how Indigenous experiences have been historically misplaced, undermined, and discriminated against through essential development, culture, and identity. Ranjan Datta is PhD student in the School of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Saskatchewan. Having Bangladeshi minority identity he is involved with minority and Indigenous community’s identity, culture, and language movements in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), Bangladesh
C. 2) Inspiring Success: Anti-racist Provincial Policies, Corey O’Soup. As a superintendent of the Ministry of Education, Corey will talk about Inspiring Success, a provincial policy document that outlines how and why schools must report anti-racist initiatives to the ministry. He will also share some of his personal experiences with School Division offices and talk about how to recognize racism. Corey is a superintendent in the First Nations Métis Community Education Branch of the Ministry of Education and has a BA in History and a B.Ed. He is currently working towards his M.Ed at the U of S and is from the Key FN in SK. He has taught in various community schools for the Saskatoon Public School Division.
D. Intersections of Race & Gender in Aboriginal Feminism, Marlene McKay. Marlene is of Cree Métis ancestry originally from Cumberland House, SK., and is a Swampy Cree speaker. Most of Marlene’s work experience has been as a social worker, counselor and an educator in an urban centre. She is currently a PhD candidate with the University of Regina in the Faculty of Education. Marlene identifies as an Aboriginal feminist and admits that coming to that place has been a long and difficult road to reach. Marlene will talk about her personal experiences of coming to a feminist consciousness. She will discuss how race and gender intersect in Aboriginal communities. Marlene believes that these two identity categories are significant forms of analysis for Aboriginal peoples.
CONCURRENT SESSIONS III (1:25 – 2:15) A 2002 EDUC, B 2005 EDUC, C 2009 EDUC, D 1004 EDUC
A. Anti-racist Strategies for Administrators, Michelle Sanderson. What is racism and how does it look in schools? What are some common racist practices that affect school aged children? What can you do as an administrator or teacher to ensure your school is not harboring racist policies? This session will describe what racism looks like in schools, how it affects children and name concrete anti-racist strategies for administrators. Michelle is from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation. She is a jingle dress dancer, an elementary teacher with ten years of experience at the K-8 level and a single parent of 3 children. Michelle is currently a graduate student in Educational Foundations with a specialty in Anti-racist/Anti-oppressive education at the U of S and is the Cree teacher at Muskeg Lake Kihiw School.
B. Anti-Racism from a Privileged Place, Janice Reigert & Matt Love. Janice and Matt will share their personal experiences learning about, understanding and accepting a racially privileged social position. They will provide concrete examples of how whiteness has been advantageous in various institutions and social situations. As beginning teachers, they will share their experiences in regards to anti-racist, anti-oppressive education - the struggles, the ‘triumphs,’ and the ‘tough questions.’ They look forward to hearing your experiences, input and ideas! Janice Reigert is a Métis educator who was raised in Martensville, SK. She currently teaches English Language Arts, History and Practical and Applied Arts in a small rural community and has been an active STARS member for the past three years. Matt Love is in his final year of studies in the College of Education and was chosen as the valedictorian for the graduating class of 2011. The highlight of his education experience thus far was interning at Aden Bowman in the Integrated Global Citizenship 30 program.
C. Indigenous Women: From the Personal to the Political, Dr. Priscilla Settee. Analyzing her personal life story, Dr. 'Pdawg', frames her presentation on the need for all Indigenous women to view their stories within a larger political picture. Dr. Settee is an Associate Professor in the Department of Native Studies at the University of Saskatchewan and a member of Cumberland House Cree First Nations. Priscilla believes that a better path needs to be made between the community and the academy and has initiated a number of projects locally and internationally, including a CIDA project with the University of San Marcos in Peru. This project supported Indigenous Amazonian and Andean students make the transition from their home communities to the university. She is actively involved with local and global community organizations, has published widely, and was awarded a Global Citizen’s award by the Saskatchewan Council for International Co-operation in 2008.

D. What’s Up with Resistance to Anti-racist Education? Cheryl Hoftyzer & Lynn Caldwell. Most people agree with eliminating racism. So, what’s with the resistance to anti-racist education? As allies in anti-racist education, we probably all in different ways come up against resistance as we learn, teach, practice, and try to figure out strategies in the midst of ongoing racism in schools and society. In this session, we will discuss some of the ways that resistance has been explained, share strategies for identifying its particular forms, and discuss some examples of confronting resistance to anti-racist education. Cheryl Hoftyzer has been a Special Education teacher for 8.5 years both in Ontario and Saskatoon, and is from Montreal Lake Cree Nation. She is a M.Ed. student in Anti Racist and Aboriginal Education and is currently an instructor with the College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan. Lynn Caldwell teaches as a Sessional Lecturer in the Department of Educational Foundations and in the Department of Sociology of St. Thomas More College. She completed a PhD in Sociology and Equity Studies in Education at OISE/UT in Toronto.
CONCLUDING SPEAKER (2:20 – 3:20) 1004 EDUC

Racebook: Social Networking for Social Activism, Dr. Alex Wilson. This presentation will focus on ways that social networking on the internet can be used to erace the ‘isms’. Dr. Wilson is Swampy Cree from the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. Currently she is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Foundations at the University of Saskatchewan.

CONCLUSION & FEEDBACK (3:20 - 3:30) 1004 EDUC

Generously Sponsored by the Aboriginal Education Research Centre, The Department of Educational Foundations & The University of Saskatchewan Conference Fund

Monday, February 14, 2011

Colorlines: A website dedicated to racial justice

Check out 'Celebrate Love' with Colorlines, journalism dedicated to racial justice, and take a look at Canadian Kids Use Flash Mob to Call for Love and Street Art on the Rez. Colorlines offers many anti-racist perspectives on global issues and popular culture that can be used in the classroom to spur critical discussions with youth about racism.

Colorlines has been building a home for journalism in service to racial justice since 1998. Our multiracial team of writers, producers and photographers cover stories from the perspective of community, rather than through the lens of power brokers. We consider racism a structural problem that demands structural, rather than solely person solutions. Like our publisher, the Applied Research Center, we're interested in systems, and that perspective informs our journalism.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Common Ground Cafe

I heard an inspirational story on the radio this morning about an interesting approach used to understand and address racism directed towards Aboriginal peoples in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Although the broadcast is not necessarily an anti-racist resource, the various stories and discourses shared are similar to those heard throughout Canada. Having students apply a race and power analysis to the narratives of a different location can open space for classroom discussions about racism and the need for anti-racist action in local contexts.

We started this segment with a scene at an event called The Common Ground Cafe. It's an experiment by our colleagues at the CBC in Thunder Bay, Ontario. They wanted to look at the divide between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people in their city. So they invited groups -- evenly split between those who are Aboriginal and those who are not -- to get together to cook and share a meal. The CBC's Jody Porter wore the oven mitts and held the microphone at The Common Ground Cafe. She was in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Racism is Illegal: The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission

The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission provides a complaint process for those who experience institutionalized racism.

The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code
protects your right to equality without discrimination based on the protected grounds of disability, age (18 or more), religion or religious creed, family status, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, race or perceived race, nationality, place of origin, ancestry, colour, or receipt of public assistance.
It’s against the law for someone to discriminate against you for any of these reasons in contracts, education, employment, housing, professional trades and associations, publications, purchase of property, occupations, trade unions or public services.
If you think someone has discriminated against you, you may make a complaint within two years of the incident. Contact our office and explain your situation to an intake consultant. You will be asked to fill out an intake questionnaire. (see above) If you need assistance completing the form, we will be happy to help you. An intake consultant will then assess your inquiry and let you know if we can proceed.
The SHRC website also offers classroom resources such as several useful videos and opportunities to invite SHRC speakers.

The Limits of Multiculturalism

Although this article has been referred to in past posts, it is worth bringing attention to again. For an interesting and insightful read on the need for anti-racist education and the limits of multicultural education, see Tyler McCreary's The myth of the multicultural patchwork: Anti-racist education and the problem with multiculturalism. Although respect for culture and cultural inclusion is important, the article clearly and candidly explains why teachers need to do more to address and work against racism.

Excerpt from the article: Anti-racism focuses on the structures, ideologies and institutionalized practices that produce privilege and dis advantage. Rather than trying to “add and stir” diversity into the classroom, anti-racist education seeks to radically shift the balance by bringing students and teachers to a critical consciousness of how the legacy of colonialism has shaped school and society. White privilege, the ongoing violence of colonialism and the myths of meritocracy – these are topics our curricula can and should address.

For a more in-depth analysis that explains why multiculturalism has limits in Aboriginal education read Aboriginal and Anti-Racist Education: Building Alliances Across Cultural and Racial Identity (2007) by Dr. Verna St. Denis. This influential article provides a path that can bring us all together to reach the same goals in First Nations, Metis and Inuit education.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Black History Month

February is Black history month. Here are some Dos and Don'ts of Teaching Black History from our friends over at Teaching Tolerance.
Of course, recognizing Black History month does not mean we can ignore Black history the other eleven months of the year, or assume that only social studies and history teachers should be responsible for incorporating content. Black Canadians have contributed to every subject that is taught in schools and this should be acknowledged. It seems that Black history is largely taught, however, as something that Canada should celebrate by drawing attention to the underground railway or Black Canadians who have contributed to Canada. While these stories are important, we often fail to teach students about the institutional and systemic racism that people who are racialized as Black continue to experience in Canada. In fact, many students enter university believing there is a fair playing field and therefore no need for Black History month. There is also a common belief that Black history month and other similar months, weeks, and days aren't fair to White people. These beliefs are hardly surprising considering the history of Black slavery, segregation, and ongoing denial of human rights in Canada remains untold in many classrooms. For example, few students are taught that Saskatchewan's primarily white settler population was purposely formed through institutionalized and systemic racism that kept non-white settlers from entering and staying in the prairies. Students who are not provided opportunities to think about racism as a system of power cannot truly understand Black history, or anyone's history. Thanks to all of you awesome teachers out there for teaching to the truth. Here are some Canadian resources to check out!

The Little Black Schoolhouse (documentary available at Saskatoon's Frances Morrison Library)
The Little Black Schoolhouse unearths the little known story of the women, men, and children who studied and taught at Canada's racially segregated Black schools. It is a poignant and unfailingly honest evocation of the struggle of African Canadians to achieve dignity and equality through education. Using extraordinary archival footage, rare still photographs, and touching first hand accounts from past students, teachers, historians and community leaders, producer/director Sylvia D. Hamilton presents an unflinching look at the heart of racial inequality in Canada.

Got ideas? Please share them with the blog!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Racism in Hollywood: Reel Injun

We don't have to look very far to see that Hollywood, for the most part, is dominated by white actors, directors and producers. Look at the line up of the 2011 Academy Award nominees for example... But beyond providing ample evidence of white privilege, Hollywood also offers teachers countless documented examples of how Indigenous and other racially oppressed people are represented in popular culture. What purpose do these dehumanizing constructions serve? Reel Injun gives us a lot of interesting information to think about so that students may better answer this question. Excellent film - check it out.
Reel Injun Website: http://www.reelinjunthemovie.com/site/
NFB Trailer:
Official Trailer:

Hollywood has made over 4000 films about Native people; over 100 years of movies defining how Indians are seen by the world. Reel Injun takes an entertaining and insightful look at the Hollywood Indian, exploring the portrayal of North American Natives through the history of cinema. Travelling through the heartland of America, Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond looks at how the myth of “the Injun” has influenced the world’s understanding – and misunderstanding – of Natives. With candid interviews with directors, writers, actors and activists, including Clint Eastwood, Jim Jarmusch, Robbie Robertson, Sacheen Littlefeather, John Trudell and Russell Means, clips from hundreds of classic and recent films, including Stagecoach, Little Big Man, The Outlaw Josey Wales, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Atanarjuat the Fast Runner, Reel Injun traces the evolution of cinema’s depiction of Native people from the silent film era to today.

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