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"Pathways to Reconciliation": Students reflect on their learning

Tue. Oct. 11, 2016

This spring, six undergraduate and graduate students took a Special Topics course in the Department of Indigenous Studies, “Pathways to Reconciliation” IS-4200, which was cross-listed with IS-7200, a graduate course, and with HR-4650, a course in the Human Rights program through Global College. It was co-taught by Lorena Fontaine of Indigenous Studies and Dean Peachy of Global College.

The course was to “explore issues of reconciliation within the context of Indigenous and other communities in Manitoba” and to “examine public understanding of what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has accomplished with respect to the legacy of residential schools”.

The course was unique in that in additional to more traditional classroom teaching and learning, students also participated (i) in a major national conference, Pathways to Reconciliation, which was held at the University of Winnipeg from June 15 to 18, 2016, and (ii) in sessions which were held in rural Manitoba in the communities of Rosseau River and Grunthal.

In a page posted on the Masters of Indigenous Governance (MAIG) website, “Learning Reconciliation Beyond Classroom”, MAIG student, Jennifer Meixner, describes her experience of the course. She concludes that “We understand reconciliation is not a state of finality and rather, an on-going process that requires constant care, attention and respect for everyone involved” (Jennifer Meixner, 2016).

On this page, there is also a link to a video produced by six students in the “Pathways to Reconciliation” course: Tonya Field, Amber Chartrand, Jennifer Devlin, Shorsh Palani, Randy Way, Marinus Nelson Bird. The students explain that, although they are from different backgrounds, they all call Treaty One Territory home and have all been affected by the legacy of colonialism. The video, entitled “Pathways of Reconciliation”, describes their experience at the Roseau River First Nation, where they were welcomed by the Midewin people and participated with them in their spring ceremonies. They learn about the importance of the drum in many Indigenous cultures and experience firsthand how a water drum is made. In that process, they see how the learning is transmitted to the community from the teachers, the drum makers, to the other community members and children. They commit to sharing their knowledge of Indigenous culture with their children and grandchildren in their own lives.

“Reconciliation requires that we interrupt, transform, and decolonize education to reflect the Indigenous people’s perspective” (Amber Chartrand, 2016).

Amber Chartrand (2016). Pathways of Reconciliation. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2l9XDNrQDE (Accessed: 11, October, 2016).

Jennifer Meixner, (2016). Learning Reconciliation Beyond Classroom. Available at: http://uwinnipeg.ca/maig/learning-reconciliation-beyond-classroom.html  (Accessed: 11, October, 2016).

"Pathways of Reconciliation" Video Credits

Drum Song: North Eagle Drum Group

Produced by: Tanya Field, Amber Chartrand, Jennifer Devlin, Shorsh Palani, Randy Way, Marinum Nelson Bird

Technical support:  Oral History Centre

For more information about the Department of Indigenous Studies and its faculty members and programs, please click here.