So let me first start this post by saying a huge thank you to all my classmates and to Audrey for putting all the hard work into making this event so awesome. I can truly say that I had a really positive experience by doing this.
I came into this event really excited and I was not dissapointed. I am really happy that I got the oppertunity to educate others today and to give people some resources that they can use in the future. We had about a total of 20ish people come to our table which doesnt seem like a lot to me but we actually had a ton of meaningful conversations with almost all of them. When people came to our table, our main focus was to explain to them what our table was about. We would tell them that we are education students in the class ECCU and that we are here to educate people on Indigenous and Treaty education (mostly through Residential Schools). We would show people the books and ask them if they would like to take our online survey to see what they know about Residential Schools. Almost all the people that came to our table took the survey which was fantastic. I noticed that some people really knew their facts while others didnt as much which I believe to be okay. I think that just by coming to our table and taking the time out of your day, is a small step in the right direction towards reconciliation. Tons of people that came to our table actually told us that they were so happy we are doing this and that this is such a great step towards reconciliation. A lot of people genuinly seemed interested in our table and wanted to learn more which is such an incredible experience. It makes me feel so good that people want to learn about these topics and educate themselves.
There were about seven or eight groups of people that came to our table that really resonated with me. The first lady that visited us was actually a refugee. She seemed so happy to come and talk to us and she really just shared her experience to us about her life as a refugee. She was seriously the sweetest lady! Another group came and talked to us and even took the time to specifically ask us about how we would teach this content in a specific class. We really tried to reiterate that this content NEEDS to be taught from an early age. Almost every person that came to our table probably got the same speel about teaching this as early as you can and what was great was that a ton of people agreed with us. I specfically talked to another girl who said she didnt know a lot about Residential Schools so I took her through the basics and she seemed to really enjoy it. I showed her books and resources and she seemed really happy to have the resources!
I also feel like I had the oppertunity to actually teach people throughout the morning. A couple of girls came to our table and the one asked, “so they dont want to be called Indians anymore?” It actually took me by surprise but she was completely serious. We taught her that calling Indigenous people “Indians” was a negative and derogitory way of talking about someone. So even just letting her know is great because she can now use the appropriate language and that even is a step in the right direction towards reconciliation. A man even came to our table and we talked about the Colten Boushie case. I was quite taken aback when he started talking about our justice system being great and how Colten Boushie and his friends were there to hurt and steal and that they should be punished. In that situation where I didnt necessarily agree with him, I found that I wanted to really get my point across to him to try and change his mind. I realized though that he didnt want his mind to be changed. So the only thing that I felt that I could do was provide him with resources and my ideas and thoughts on the topic. Lacy and Kate did a great job of talking to him as well even though we didnt agree with him. I really took this experience as a way to try and educate others instead of getting all upset about it. I took it as a learning experience and I now know what I can do for next time.
I just wanted to talk a bit more about another few people that I met. There was an indigenous family that came to our booth and the mother explained to us how she was so happy and excited that we are doing this. She genuinly really was really happy that us as educators were taking the time create this event and take the step towards reconciliation. She even asked us to take a picture with her and when we met in the hallway later, she waved to me! So just her reaction to this all gave me such a warm feeling. Not because I was part of creating this event, but because it truly is a step towards bridging the divide between people. I am so grateful that I got to share my knowledge with other people and they genuinly were excited and wanted to learn.