Today I attended a PD day focused on FNMI learning. For those who don’t know, FNMI stands for First Nations Metis Inuit and is the acronym we are currently using to talk about peoples who are indigenous to Canada.
“In 2009, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada began a multi-year process to listen to Survivors, communities and others affected by the Residential School system. The resulting collection of statements, documents and other materials now forms the heart of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.” (from The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation) In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Report included 94 “calls to action” urging all levels of government to work together to change policies and programs in Canada in order to repair the damage done by residential schools and help our country move forward with reconciliation. One of the main calls to action is to change education to include FNMI history and culture in all parts of the curriculum. This means educating teachers as well as children.
Today, teachers heard from elders and youth and everyone in between. We listened to talks, singing, drumming. We ate food with a traditional flavour. We experienced cultural activities from sports to drumming to beading. We even sang. We tried to be open; we were open. Tomorrow, and for many tomorrows, we must continue to educate ourselves so that we can share these vibrant cultures with our students. To that end, I’m including two poems here. The first, I Lost My Talk, is well-known in Canada, but I’m not sure non-Canadian readers will have read it. The second is my own creation, a found poem from the words I heard in our PD sessions today. To all those who shared their knowledge with me today, thank you. Migwech.