Unpacking an Indigenous Myth

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Create a counter-narrative –

  • Using a selection from Part 3 in Indigenous Writes (Vowel, 2016), identify a myth, misconception or narrative about Indigenous Peoples in Canada. 
  • Create a counter-narrative to dispel the selected misconception, myth or narrative to share truth and work towards reconciliation.
  • Give a brief overview of why the particular myth/narrative was chosen, insights learned in exploring information to support the counter-narrative, and a concise plan of how counter-narrative can be used in K-12 context (including an explicit connection to specific curricular outcomes).

After reading through the myths in part three of Vowels book, the myth of progress stood out for me. I chose to look at this myth because it is one that I have heard the least out of all the myths in the chapter and I had the misconception of what was actually going on. Vowel is correct in saying that because I am not an Indigenous person, I am unaware of what their culture values and honours and when I see a media portrayal, I may not be aware that it is culturally incorrect without further investigation. This myth will help me to challenge what I read regarding Indigenous values and maybe take the readings to someone who could give an accurate opinion on what is written or represented. The entire problem with this myth is cultural appropriation in the world. Cultural appropriation is defined as an individual, media, or community uneducatedly using a culture’s customs, practices, and ideas in inappropriate manners. Doing this may enforce stereotypes, racism, and prejudice. 

Reconciliation begins by accepting all of these myths but I think it needs to start with this one. The truth of this myth is even though there has been a significant effort to right the wrongs of the past there is still a long way to go. A way to look at this issue with students could be in grade 6 with the health outcome 6.1 and outcome E which reads:

Analyze the factors that influence the development of personal standards and identity, and determine the impact on healthy decision making (including cultural norms, societal norms, family values, peer pressures, mass media, traditional knowledge, white privilege, legacy of colonization, and heterosexual privilege).

(e)Uncover personal standards by exploring questions such as: What are the standards that I will expect myself to live by at all times? What are my standards for dealing with challenges/problems? What are the boundaries for the attitudes and actions that I will accept for myself, my peers, my family, and my community? What standards are part of my cultural heritage?

I believe this may be valuable for students because this outcome would allow them to explore what they will do to contribute to reconciliation. There are many articles in the world that students can examine and form an opinion about what they will choose to do with that information. Students could dive into an inquiry project of an Indigenous topic that they are unsure about and work towards the questions listed above by identifying the points that make them uncomfortable and what they believe is correct or incorrect.

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