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.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Racist Halloween costumes

Here is a CBC piece on the 'We're a culture, not a costume' campaign. You can ask students to think about how costumes can dehumanize people (for younger grades ask how they make people seem like they are not human). In terms of Indigenous peoples, students can think about how 'Indian' costumes influence understandings of and responses to Indigenous peoples in Canada including treaty, land and human rights. Native Appropriations recently posted on this as well and included pictures of costumes, or check out the blog my culture is not a trend.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dr. Marie Battiste: The learning spirit & Indigenous knowledge

We were extremely fortunate to have internationally acclaimed Indigenous scholar Dr. Marie Battiste present a STARS event in November 2009 called Anti-Racism Education and Decolonization. An important part of Dr. Battiste's work has focused on decolonization, the learning spirit, and how Indigenous Knowledge and Elders' teachings can guide us to remember our purpose within colonized, racialized territories. The following Youtube videos of Dr. Battiste were posted by the Different Knowings speakers series held at McMaster University:

The Learning Spirit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOxIfB7KLxQ

Knowledge as a key site for decolonization: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Evxpt0u4tOU&feature=related

Why Indigenous Humanities? Who gets to be human? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTkyiBWHquU&feature=related

For more information about Dr. Battiste's work visit: 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Blog post on decolonizing the Occupation

The blog post below from Native Appropriations can help to inform discussions with students about decolonization and the Occupation movement:

It's a brilliant blog. Check it out when you get a chance.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bedford Road Redmen, it's time for a change Facebook page

Here is the link to the 'Bedford Road Redmen - It's Time for a Change' Facebook page - to learn more see the following news articles. This is an important topic to discuss with students in social studies, language arts, physical education, art ...and all grade levels.

Redmen Team Name Irks Saskatoon High School Graduate: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/story/2011/09/22/sk-bedford-road-school-sports-team-name-110922.html

The movement to change the Redmen name/mascot can be linked to the post below about the renaming of a Nova Scotia school: 
Cornwallis renaming is the right thing to do: We shouldn't honour the architects of genocide: http://www.thecoast.ca/RealityBites/archives/2011/06/26/cornwallis-renaming-is-the-right-thing-to-do

First Nations Solar Housing

Canada's entry into the 2011 Solar Decathlon, which is a competition to design solar-powered and net zero housing. The team strove to meet the needs of First Nations living on reserves by addressing lifestyle, culture, and harmony with the land, as well as legal, environmental, health, and economic concerns. The name, structure, layout and materials used were all chosen in consultation with First Nations. The "turtles" are also designed to be low-maintenance and long-lasting, but on temporary footings so that they don't become the default property' of the government. While some of the articles I've found lack a certain insight and sensitivity, I believe the intention of the team was good. While maintenance and operating costs are very low, there is no mention that I can find about the initial cost to built the home. Solar panels aren't cheap… The team has a layout of the house with info points throughout explaining choices. There is also a rather random section on FNMI actors, musicians, and writers which comes across a little weird, but I'm impressed by the amount of thought that seems to have gone into the project.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGtfr3Kancs&feature=related (Youtube videos of the process, some of which cover ceremonial rites)

I can see this design and process being useful as a topic and point of study in many different subject areas - science, art, social studies, native studies, etc - but can also see it being linked to English and religious studies when connected to story-telling and creation stories.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Oct 7 Documentary and Fundraiser - Child Welfare: The State as Parent

This free public event begins at 7:00 p.m. on October 7th at the Neatby-Timlin Theatre, Arts Building 241 at the University of Saskatchewan campus. All are welcome.

Researcher partners with community on gang prevention for documentary

Full article: http://news.usask.ca/2011/10/05/researcher-partners-with-community-on-gang-prevention-for-documentary/

U of S Native Studies researcher Caroline Tait and her community partners are hosting a public documentary film launch, panel discussion and fundraiser on October 7, all aimed at raising awareness and seeking solutions to child welfare and gang involvement in Saskatoon.

“Our child welfare system is broken, and we need to fix it.” Tait says. “We need to begin to by ensuring that our child welfare system is ethical, that the system does not cause even more harm to vulnerable children and families.”

Tait’s recently completed film, “Child Welfare: The State as Parent,” will kick off the event. The documentary is part of an “ethical toolkit” project funded by the Mental Health Commission of Canada and is directed by Douglas Cuthand, an award-winning Indigenous filmmaker from Saskatoon. Through the stories of survivors, it describes a child welfare system in crisis.

Following the screening will be a panel discussion with national and community partners sharing their expertise on child welfare. This will include representatives of STR8-UP, an innovative program run through the John Howard Society of Saskatchewan that works directly with and through community members on gang prevention. STR8-UP has been instrumental in helping Saskatoon gang members leave their colours and exit the gang life. Program founder Father Andrè Poulievre was awarded the Governor General’s Award in 2009 in part for this work.

“Gangs have a persistent influence over many vulnerable young people in our community,” Tait says. “Addressing this issue is not about harsher punishments and enforcement. It takes building connections with families and with communities, and addressing issues of poverty, racism and social exclusion.”

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