– submitted by Rhonda Friesen, Dean of Students
Our perspectives shape how we see the world, which in turn shapes our beliefs, our understanding and our relationships with others. Booth University College resides in Treaty One territory, the original lands of the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation. We live, whether by choice or by history, in community with our Indigenous neighbours and our wellbeing in this community is interconnected and interdependent. Learning to see our world through the eyes of Indigenous peoples is imperative to being able to contribute towards its betterment. At Booth UC, we believe that in providing Education for a Better World we must first understand this world through other perspectives.
Indigenous Perspectives Week, March 8-12, provided just such an opportunity. Although unable to meet together on campus, as in previous years, to enjoy community activities, guest speakers and common meals, we were nonetheless able to offer a unique and engaging online experience for students, faculty and staff. Keynote speaker, James (Jimmy) Thunder, challenged us to ‘decolonize our minds’ through his spoken word video and went on to talk about his Christian faith in the context of his Indigenous culture.
Indigenous stories portraying creation, morality, family and social issues were shared online, with students contributing additional links and personal anecdotes. Links to interactive websites increased awareness of Indigenous treaty boundaries and the location and languages of Manitoba Indigenous communities. For those with a culinary curiosity, our Booth Bistro posted delicious Indigenous-inspired recipes each day of the week, providing mouth-watering incentives to explore Indigenous culture through the food we eat.
Indigenous researcher, Shawn Wilson, reflects: “It is the act of living [our] beliefs that makes them real” (Wilson, 2001). As our Booth UC community comes together to understand and learn from our Indigenous community members, we will begin to realize the reconciliation that is our goal. This is an exciting hope for a richer future for us all.
Wilson, Shawn. (2001). What Is an Indigenous Research Methodology? Canadian Journal of Native Education. 25.