ECCU 400

Sheena Koops, Her Students & First Nations Education

What a week!

First of all, we were thankful enough to have Sheena Koops and her students come and visit us. It was such a moving experience and I am very grateful that they took the time to come. Each of the boys introduced themselves on top of doing a short presentation. Before I go any further, I have to give them props for doing that. When I was in high school, I would never have been able to get up and speak on a topic in front of a bunch of fourth year university students. That takes courage and I am still in awe of that. Something that really stood out to me was when one of her students said something along the lines of “There is no use in apologizing because you were not there.” To be honest, he has a point. Why are we always saying sorry? We Stephen Harper apologized and said sorry for what happened to First Nations people at Residential Schools. But sorry is just a word and we are always so quick to apologize for things; even if we are not at fault. Heck, I have found myself saying sorry to chairs and tables. It is an automatic reflex. So does saying sorry even have meaning anymore?

Secondly, we discussed First Nations education and the issues that accompany it. Growing up and especially in high school, I found myself and my classmates were always jealous of the reserves because they were getting brand new schools. We would always be in awe when we walked in and constantly complain about how we didn’t have some of the things their school had such as a waterfall in the entry and heated floors in the changeroom. However, looking back now we had no right to do that. Those reserves I am sure had to fight to get those schools and even visiting them now, those once nice schools I was jealous of are deteriorating. The features I mentioned earlier (waterfall and heated floors) were actually in a school I visited and played volleyball in. The school was 1-2 years old in 2007 and myself along with the other girls on the grade 7 volleyball team were in awe and jealous. But by 2012, the waterfall had stopped working as did the heated floors. I asked one of the girls on that school’s team (we were there again for volleyball) about the waterfall and apparently it hadn’t worked in a couple years. Now this was just the physical stuff. I didn’t even know how bad First Nations education actually was until I got to university. Contemporary issues were not something that was discussed in my schooling and I feel as if I missed out on so much because of this. As I continue on my treaty walk, I need to do my best to stay up to date on these issues to keep myself better informed and to keep myself in check. But being aware is just the beginning; the next step is taking action.

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