Real Change Begins at Home
As Canadian Rockies Public Schools (CRPS) gears up to observe the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30, we recognize that the real change begins at home. We are steadfast in our mission to inspire the hearts and minds of every student, and to achieve that, it’s crucial that our families are equipped to engage in meaningful dialogue and activities. Here's a guide for parents on how you can build a deeper understanding of Indigenous Peoples and Stoney Nakoda culture at home.
First, consider investing in educational books and materials. Literature opens windows to worlds we have yet to explore. For your younger kids, picture books about Indigenous culture can provide a colourful and engaging introduction. For teens, historical narratives or even biographies can deepen understanding. The key is to make these resources age-appropriate and relevant, aligning with our belief that "each student's knowledge, skills, attributes, and interests are identified and developed."
Family discussions around the dinner table can be incredibly impactful. Your home is the first place where your child learns to express opinions and ask questions. Pose thoughtful questions to your kids and listen to theirs. Create a judgement-free zone where curiosity is welcomed and children feel emotionally safe and secure.
The internet offers a wealth of resources. Documentaries, podcasts, and educational YouTube channels can serve as excellent mediums for learning. Turn this into a family activity where everyone watches and later discusses what they've learned. Through these discussions, you're not just answering your child’s questions but encouraging them to think critically, in line with our aim to provide "opportunities for challenge, discovery, action, and reflection."
Don’t underestimate the power of local community events. These offer experiential learning that can’t be replicated through books or online resources. Whether it's a cultural festival, a museum exhibit, or a community gathering, these experiences allow your family to immerse itself in Indigenous and Stoney Nakoda culture.
For a hands-on approach, why not attend a class in traditional cooking or crafts taught by an Indigenous instructor to learn the craft? These activities don’t just keep your children engaged; they also offer a tactile connection to the culture they’re learning about. Remember, as we believe, learning thrives when "opportunities are provided for challenge, discovery, action, and reflection."
Lastly, geography can be a powerful tool. Use maps to discuss the traditional territories of different Indigenous groups, including Stoney Nakoda. This simple act can segue into more complex discussions about land treaties, sovereignty, and respect.
As we approach Sept. 30, let’s make a collective effort to deepen our understanding, not just as an educational community but as individual families. Your involvement is key to nurturing an environment where our vision—creating a better world through transformational education—can become a reality.
Suggested Parent Resources
These resources are not just educational for students; they're valuable for parents too. Families can use these materials to foster dialogue and deepen their understanding, in line with CRPS' mission and vision. Remember, a more informed community is a more empathetic community. Let's make the most of these resources as we approach the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
- “Îyâ Sa Wîyâ Wahogu-kiybi Cha (Red Mountain Woman Receives a Teaching)” by Îyâ Sa Wîyâ (Red Mountain Woman), translation by Tina Fox in the Iyethka language of the Stoney Nakoda People and illustrated by Tanisha Wesley - In this traditional Iyethka Nakoda story, Red Mountain Woman shares a traditional teaching that she learned from her Grandmother about protocol, respect, and sharing.
- “Watâga Wîyâ A’s, Â’s and B’s ze yuthpe îkiyabich (Grizzly Bear Woman Teaches the A’s, Â’s & B’s)” by Tatâga Thkan Wagichi (Dancing White Buffalo) and Trent Fox, translated by Valentia Fox and illustrated by Tanisha Wesley - Translation in the Iyethka language of the Stoney Nakoda People, Watâga Wîyâ is a children’s alphabet book bringing to life a beautiful lesson in the world and words of the Stoney Nakoda.
- “Âba Wathtech Înâ Mâkoche (It is a Good Day, Mother Earth)” by Sheri Shotclose (Singing Across the Water), translated by Duane Mark and illustrated by Tanisha - This tale is about a young girl greeting the day and acknowledging her Stoney Nakoda family and the beautiful natural world in which she lives.
- “Îethkaîhâ Yawabi (Counting in Stoney)” by Îyarhe Wiyapta (Shining Mountains), translated by Natasha Wesley in the Îethka language of the Stoney Nakoda People and illustrated by by Tanisha Wesley - This simple yet precious Îethkaîhâ book of numbers provides a beautiful narrative of counting. Author Natasha Wesley and her artist sister, Tanisha Wesley, portray the numbers 1 to 20 through their way of life.
- “Ne Îethka Makochî Chach (This is Our Home)” by Mînî Thnî (Cold Water) and Trudy Wesley, translated by Duane Mark in the Îethka language of the Stoney Nakoda People and illustrated by Tanisha Wesley - Ne Îethka Makochî Chach is a Stoney Nakoda story of the people and animals who live in the foothills and mountains of southern Alberta.
- "When We Were Alone" by David A. Robertson - This book educates children about residential schools in a gentle way.
- "Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox" by Danielle Daniel - This book introduces children to the Anishinaabe tradition of totem animals.
- "The Water Walker" by Joanne Robertson - The story follows an Ojibwe grandmother (Nokomis) and her quest to protect water against pollution.
- "We Sang You Home" by Richard Van Camp - This is a lovely book that celebrates family and Indigenous cultural practices.
- "Shi-shi-etko" by Nicola I. Campbell - A young girl is taught the importance of remembering her culture and lands before leaving for residential school.
- "Owls See Clearly at Night" by Julie Flett - An ABC book that also serves as an introduction to the Michif language.
- "Little You" by Richard Van Camp - A book that celebrates the potential of young children and embraces family and community.
- "You Hold Me Up" by Monique Gray Smith - Encourages dialogue about the importance of empathy and kindness toward one another.
Books for Youth
- "Indian Horse" by Richard Wagamese - This book explores the life of a young Ojibway boy who discovers salvation through ice hockey. It tackles heavy topics like the impact of residential schools.
- "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie - This semi-autobiographical novel explores the experiences of a Native American teenager.
- "The Marrow Thieves" by Cherie Dimaline - Set in a dystopian future where people are hunted for their bone marrow, this book explores themes of survival and the importance of cultural heritage.
- "Those Who Run in the Sky" by Aviaq Johnston - This coming-of-age story involves Inuit beliefs and traditions.
- "Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience" by Monique Gray Smith - Tilly tells the tale of a young Indigenous woman growing up in British Columbia, touching on themes of identity and resilience.
- "Fatty Legs" by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton - This memoir describes a young Inuit girl's experiences at a residential school.
- "Moon of the Crusted Snow" by Waubgeshig Rice - This is a post-apocalyptic novel that deals with a northern Anishinaabe community's struggle to survive when the outside world ceases to function.
- "Three Feathers" by Richard Van Camp - This graphic novel deals with the topic of restorative justice, guided by Indigenous traditions.
Other Educational Books
- "The Inconvenient Indian" by Thomas King - An informative and critical overview of North America's Indigenous Peoples. Suitable for adults.
- "21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act" by Bob Joseph - An accessible guide for understanding the Indian Act and its impact on generations of Indigenous Peoples.
- Stoney Podcast - Build your foundational knowledge of the Stoney Nakoda through this series of 13 podcasts.
- Unreserved - Hosted by Rosanna Deerchild, "Unreserved" offers listeners a journey into the Indigenous stories from across the country. The show touches on topics ranging from arts, culture, and language to politics, events, and personal narratives.
- The Secret Life of Canada - While not exclusively about Indigenous issues, this podcast delves into Canadian history, revealing untold stories and hidden facts that many Canadians might not know. It often explores the histories of Indigenous Peoples and their interactions with settlers.
- Media Indigena - A weekly roundtable podcast, "Media Indigena" is about Indigenous issues hosted by Rick Harp. It features a diverse group of Indigenous thinkers and commentators who dissect current events and issues facing their communities.
- Stories from the Land - This podcast is focused on sharing and celebrating Indigenous histories. By doing so, it contributes to revitalizing connections to land and place. Each episode tells a unique story, capturing personal experiences and insights from various Indigenous contributors.
- Stoney Nakoda Dictionary - Build your Stoney Language through the Stoney Nakoda Dictionary.