Laryssa has been teaching Indigenous content in her English classes for four years, and was honest with me in sharing that when she first started her students wanted to know why Indigenous histories, literature, etc was relevant to them. We also discuss:
Building relationships with Indigenous guest speakers
Her own learning and professional development in Indigenous topics
Teaching about Residential Schools in Catholic settings
I'm also very excited that Jay Odjick, who illustrated Robert Munsch's latest book Blackflies, and Dr. Jennifer Wemigwans of Invert Media provided their views on appropriation of Indigenous content this month. Thank you both!
Also new this month: The Highlight Reel, which features articles or events of note which have come up since the last issue, which can be used across the curriculum for a variety of different lessons.
I've linked some of the content in Issue #3 to my new website to decrease scrolling and ensure you find what is most relevant to your work. And finally, a huge thank you to everyone who has forwarded Issues #1 and #2 to friends and colleagues! I'm honoured that you are all here with me on this journey.
All the best, Angela
In This Issue:
Resources - divided by grade level
Where can I find? - MORE! French Language Resources
Your Questions - How do I avoid appropriation?
The Highlight Reel!
Promos - The Moccasin Project & my new website
Who is Angela? What is Listen & Learn?
Primary Blackflies by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Jay Odjick
There has been a lot of buzz (see what I did there?) around Blackflies, Robert Munsch's first book set on reserve, specifically located in Northern Alberta. The illustrations were done by Jay Odjick, who is Algonquian from Kitigan Zibi First Nation.
Mr. Odjick told me that he took the project "To try to open doors for other Indigenous creators and to try to show Indigenous kids a positive representation of themselves as drawn by one of their own."
Mr. Odjick agreed: "While Robert is non-native, there is a First Nation creator on the book in myself; and in truth this presents a unique opportunity to show that there IS a market for First Nation content that would surpass say, just me writing and drawing as Robert is a HUGE name in the field."
At the time of publication, Blackflies was #4 of the CBC CANADIAN KIDS bestseller list. Congratulations Jay!
Questions to Consider
How can I highlight Indigenous artists in my classroom?
How do these artists want to be identified?
How can these artists become a starting point to learn more about their communities?
One question that emerged in many of my presentations this past month was, how can my students see Indigenous peoples as something other than victims? In response, I suggest highlighting the resilience and resistance of Indigenous peoples, especially young people, and bringing their stories into the classroom.
Part non-fiction novel, part scrapbook, Shannen and the Dream for a School, tells the true story of Shannen Koostachin (Mushkegowuk/Swampy Cree - Attawapiskat First Nation) one of the young people who fought for a new school in her home First Nation.
The book includes recent and historical images of Shannen and her family, related newspaper clippings, a timeline and a historical section at the back.
Questions to Consider
How can my students come to see Indigenous peoples as more than victims or people to be pitied?
Where are opportunities to focus on Indigenous resistance and resilience?
This month I conducted my first interview with Laryssa Gorecki, an English teacher at James Cardinal McGuigan Catholic High School in Toronto. She's been incorporating Indigenous content into her classroom in the West end of the city, and finding that her students from all different backgrounds are finding points of connection to the material.
Laryssa speaks to us about her unit, and addresses questions any teacher might have, including navigating her role as a relatively new learner in this area.
What does Laryssa teach?
The unit on Truth and Reconciliation examined the implications of using arts-based activities, including music, drama, and picture books, as a means to build student capacity for intercultural understanding, empathy, and mutual respect. Through an aesthetic approach, students actively engaged with the themes found in various artwork, songs, and narratives by Indigenous authors and artists. The unit culminated with a project expressing cognitive and aesthetic growth in our student community.
A Tribe Called Red, Tanya Tagaq, and the Black Bear Singers opened the Juno awards on April 2, with one of the most exciting performances that night. A Tribe Called Red are known for their "electric pow wow" style and Tagaq (Inuit - Iqaluktuutiaq/Cambridge Bay) has won the Polaris Prize for her music which features her throat singing. The performance brings metaphor and political statement together, and blends traditional and contemporary styles.
3:20 of awesome.
The Moccasin Project
If you are looking for ideas to get your class involved in some hands-on learning about colonialism and racism, check out the Moccasin Project which is raising awareness about the high apprehension rates of Indigenous children in Canada (with a particular focus on Manitoba).
I would love to get your feedback about what you want to see in Listen & Learn! Fill out this short survey and let me know what you to see featured!
Who is Angela?
Angela Nardozi is a guest on Turtle Island who is Italian-Canadian. She has spent almost a decade working alongside Indigenous communities and with non-Indigenous educators. She is a certified teacher and received her Ph.D. in Education from OISE/UT. She is now a consultant and coach. For more information about her services email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The purpose of Listen & Learn is to inspire teachers to incorporate Indigenous content in their curriculum, share resources and ideas, create a space for different stories and voices, and to update folks on what Angela is up to!