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.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change

The 2010 documentary Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change shares observations by Inuit elders of the severe environmental changes they are witnessing in the place and space in which they live.

"Imagine how this feels: The land and weather are turning erratic and dangerous. Warmer, unpredictable winds are coming from strange directions. Severe floods threaten to wash away towns. And native animals, the food supply, aren't behaving as they used to, their bodies less capable in the changing climate (. . .). 

These are the drastic conditions Northern Canadians, whose lives depend from childhood on their knowledge of the most minute details of the Arctic land and skies, say they see all around them. These observations by Inuit elders are detailed in a groundbreaking new documentary, Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change, by acclaimed Nunavut filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk ( The Fast RunnerThe Journals of Knud Rasmussen) and environmental scientist Ian Mauro." (The Globe and Mail)

Teacher's guide for graphic novel 7 Generations

Here is a link to a teacher's guide for 7 Generations, the four-part graphic novel series written by David Alexander Robertson. 7 Generations follows the story of one Aboriginal family from 19th century to the present day. The following synopsis of each book is taken from the teacher's guide, which was written by Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair.

Book 1, Stone introduces Edwin, a young, lost Aboriginal man who must understand his family’s past if he is to have any future. In this book, Edwin learns about the life of his ancestor Stone, a young Plains Cree man who lived in the 19th century. 

In Book 2, Scars, Edwin continues his quest to learn about, understand, and embrace his family’s past. His mother tells him the story of White Cloud, an ancestor who was alive during the smallpox epidemic of 1870–1871. 

Book 3: Ends/Begins tells the story of Edwin’s father and his residential school experience. 

Book 4: The Pact is a story of redemption, as father and son reconcile their past and begin a new journey

Fatty Legs novel study

Here is a link to a novel study for Fatty Legs, a children's book on the residential school experience of Margaret Pokiak–Fenton. This text is suitable for Grades 5-8.

The link includes a two-part webinar for teachers who are interested in using Fatty Legs in their classroom. Part 1 introduces you to the author, Christy Jordan-Fenton, as well as Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, the subject of the book. Part 2 has Kerry Aiken, a Grade 7 teacher, explain how she used Fatty Legs in her classroom.

The link also includes questions and handouts you can use with your students.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Ableist Language is so common in our everyday language that we do not even realize when we are using oppressive language. 

The Heart That Matters

White Privilege Explained

It is necessary for us all to examine our positions of privilege. Here is an informative comic to help you unpack white privilege.

Who has the Power?

Comics have a way of effectively explaining without simplifying difficult concepts. If you are confused about female empowerment vs. objectification, here is an excellent explanation via cartoons.  http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/04/empowered-vs-objectified/

Is Google sexist or just the people who use it?

This provocative UN advertisement campaign shows different women with their mouths covered by the Google search bar filling in the most frequently searched headings following: “women cannot…” “women shouldn’t….” This campaign reveals many hurtful truths about how major portions of our society view women.

We have a long way to go…

Sexism exists everywhere we look in society. The following link has several video clips by the Representation Project. The first video celebrates many of the wins women have had in the media in 2015, but also counters those wins with the countless normalized and glorified representations of abuse, violence, racialization and sexualization that dominate the media.

Transgender Questions

Society has silenced gender fluidity and expression in countless ways, creating a strict binary. It is so necessary to push back and challenge society’s narrow and abusive definitions of gender. Ignorance perpetuates violence, empower yourself with knowledge to create a safe more inclusive society for us all.

A Cautionary tale for self-proclaimed “Allies”

Initially, I was excited about the website: Itspronoucedmetrosexual

I have seen the Genderbread Person used frequently and thought it was a great explanation for the fluidity of gender expression and identity. I even downloaded the free digital copy of the book by Sam Killermann.
However, when I posted a link to the free digital copy of the book on my Facebook I found myself quickly informed by a couple of my activist friends that the book was entirely based on plagiarized material. My friend Sean Waldbillig, commented: The info is important, but just remember it's not his work first. A lot of work, culture, and art has been coopted from marginalized communities. Much of it is the coopting of the knowledge of Black and Indigenous peoples (specifically women of colour) by white people.

 Another friend posted this website which researches the entire investigation of the intersectional appropriation of the Genderbread Person: https://storify.com/cisnormativity/the-genderbread-plagiarist. Which states, “Mr. Killermann didn't mention how what he'd seen online may have been the collective working efforts of trans people and, instead of building a new brand from their work, maybe he should have been finding ways to advocate for them by boosting their voices in their name. That kind of selfless advocacy is how one earns the respect of being seen as an ally by those who experience intersectional marginalization and violence.”
This website includes an interesting visual history of the origins of the Genderbread Person Infographic. It also discusses the problems with the simplification found in all the Genderbread Person info graphics and is a very informative read.

We need to ensure that we are not applauding and rewarding members of dominant groups who steal intellectual knowledge and speak “for” marginalized communities while silencing the voices of those very communities they are pretending to advocate on behalf of.

Would you ask a heterosexual that question?

This wiki site provides some quick tips on respectfully engaging with Transgender folks. Educators need to ensure that an inclusive classroom culture is at the top of our priority list. Make sure to reflect on how you may be asking unnecessary or invasive questions.

"Creating Schools that Value Sexual Diversity"

“Creating Schools that Value Sexual Diversity” is an article by Elizabeth J. Meyers that discusses the silencing of student sexuality. “Sexual diversity is all around us, although it is often invisible and silenced. Schools cannot make the controversies surrounding sexual diversity disappear by ignoring them,” (p. 188). Below is the link to the PDF.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Day I Started To Acknowledge Systemic Racism

A visual article that creates an analogy of systemic racism as poison in the water system.

Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person

--> This article looks at a personal outlook of a women who grew up poor and her understanding of white privilege.

18 Things White People Should Know/Do Before Discussing Racism


A teacher wanted to share an important life lesson with his students about privilege

A Teacher teaches about power and privilege with a short exercise in the classroom with a wastebasket and crumpled pieces of paper. 

"Your job as students who are receiving an education is to be aware of your privilege and use this particular privilege called 'education' to do your best to achieve great things, all the while advocating for those in the rows behind you."



Why Race May Influence Us Even When We “Know” It Doesn’t

This article looks at the unconscious bias that is embedded within society and that we, as people are influenced by race and stereotypes, even if we don’t believe it. There are also some YouTube clips of Jennifer Eberhardt noting racial bias and dehumanizing stereotypes.

Check your Privilege

This article showcases a series posters from the University of San Francisco that unpacks the notion of privilege and power with powerful images and statements.

First Peoples, Second Class Treatment

A Discussion paper titled The role of racism in the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples in Canada. This paper was prepared for Wellesley Institute by Dr.Allan & Dr. Smylie.

What is decolonizing education in the post-secondary setting?

The video "Other[ed.]: What is Decolonizing Education in the Post-Secondary Setting?" was created as a part of the 2014 University of Toronto's International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (IDERD) Communications Campaign, observed annually on March 21st. The objective of the video is to explore the diverse perspectives on the meaning of decolonizing education


Controversial herring fishery on the west coast of BC angers Heiltsuk First Nation

Falling on deaf ears: Heiltsuk leaders plead their case to gillnet fishers.

 Photo credit: Tavish Campbell/ Pacific Wild

The Heiltsuk First Nation of coastal BC has been fighting to protect herring that spawn in their traditional territory.  After a 10 year moratorium on the commercial herring fishery, the DFO opened up a secret fishery against the consent of the Heiltsuk. The following resource list can be used by teachers to explore issues such traditional First Nations' rights to resources, use of the RCMP to intimidate and control First Nations people, ecological and environmental justice, as well as traditional Aboriginal harvesting methods.  


Court case: Regina vs. Gladstone. (1996).  Summary found 12 April 2015 at http://casebrief.wikia.com/wiki/R_v_Gladstone

DFO. (2014). Stock assessment and management advice for British Columbia Pacific herring: 2014 status and 2015 forecast. Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada. Retrieved 6 April 2015 from http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/csas-sccs/publications/sar-as/2014/2014_060-eng.pdf.

Hume, M. (2015, Apr 1). Heiltsuk First Nation claims victory over disputed herring fishery. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 6 April 2015 from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/heiltsuk-first-nation-claims-victory-over-disputed-herring-fishery/article23757390/.

Gillis, D. (2015, Apr 5). The untold story behind the central coast herring fishery fiasco. TheCommonsenseCanadian.ca.  Retrieved 6 April 2015 from http://commonsensecanadian.ca/the-untold-story-behind-the-central-coast-herring-fishery-fiasco/.

PacificWild.Org. (2015).

Pacific Wild. 2015. DFO clings to bad science, refuses to close herring fishery in Area 7. [Motion picture].   Produced by PacificWild.org. Retrieved 6 April 2015 from https://vimeo.com/pacificwild.

Pacific Wild. (2015). First Nation defends herring against DFO’s stealth fishery, bad science. [Motion picture]. Produced by PacificWild.org. Retrieved 6 April 2015 from https://vimeo.com/123069376.

Pacific Wild. 2015. Herring Migration. [Motion picture]. Produced by PacificWild.org. Retrieved 6 April 2015 from https://vimeo.com/123541464.

Prystupa, M. (2015, Feb 28). Feds to reopen herring fishery despite objections by First Nations and scientists. Vancouver Observer. Retrieved 6 April 2015 from http://www.vancouverobserver.com/news/feds-reopen-herring-fishery-over-scientist-and-first-nations-objections.

Prystupa, M. (2015, Mar 23). Heiltsuk heartbroken by herring fishery re-start, with RCMP protection. Vancouver Observer. Retrieved 6 April 2015 from http://www.vancouverobserver.com/news/heiltsuk-heartbroken-herring-fisherys-re-start-rcmp-protection.

Thompson, C. (2014, Apr 7). Central Coast First Nation wins victory in fight over herring fishery. Coast Mountain News. Retrieved 6 April 2015 from http://www.coastmountainnews.com/news/254239351.html.

Thompson, C.  (2015, Apr 6). Controversial herring fishery on Central Coast closed after protests, occupation. Coast Mountain News. Retrieved 6 April 2015 from http://www.coastmountainnews.com/news/298811791.html

Welch, C. (2015, Feb 12). Fighting over herring: the little fish that feeds multitudes. National Geographic. Retrieved 6 April 2015 from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/02/150211-herring-decline-british-columbia-fishery-seabirds-environment/.

Babakiueria: A satirical take on colonialization in Australia

BabaKiueria title card.jpgAn awesome satirical take on race relations in Australia from the late 1980s.

BabaKiueria revolves around a role-reversal, whereby it is Aboriginal Australians who have invaded and colonized the fictitious country of BabaKiueria, a land that has long been inhabited by white natives, the BabaKiuerians.

White Fragility: Why it's so hard to talk to white people about racism

Business man covering his ears. : Stock Photo
Dr. Robin DiAngelo explains why white people implode when talking about race and she provides a number of ways to overcome this  "white fragility." This 'must read' article can be found at The Good Men Project.

Animated story-telling in 8 languages

http://www.sicc.sk.ca/images/logo.gifThe Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Center has a lot of great information including links to animated stories that are translated in 8 different languages. 
Link to animation project.

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