Learning Story – Discussing Indigenous Identity

Learning Story – Discussing Indigenous Identity

The Week of October 27, 2023

What Happened?

The Dene Law “Love each other as much as possible” was the focus of our day today. We were gifted a bison head (with the tongue!) so our focus was on the bison and all of its gifts. We boiled the tongue and shared it and made soup with the rest of the meat that was harvested from the head. Verna Catholique and Edna Paul worked on the head the entire day, skinning it with the help of the Bushkids and sharing the meat with everyone (mahsi cho!). One Bushkid used her ulu to help! We used Wıı̀lııd̀ eh language to serve the food to each other and learn how to respond when being offered.

Why is it Important?

Today we talked about identity and how at Bushkids, we want to feel comfortable identifying with our own cultures, languages, families, worldviews and knowledge. Without quantifying how Indigenous we are using percentages. Many Bushkids and Aurora College students organically and comfortably began to share who is Indigenous in their families or who isn’t. We talked about how the Government imposed laws that defined how Indigenous someone is with the intention of eradicating the Indigenous populations through the Indian Act. To “love each other as much as possible” means to love ourselves, who we are and where we come from. At the end of the day we asked when we saw love at Bushkids and the observations made were so beautiful and touching – about friendship, about sharing, about using all of the bison, about helping, about laughing together, about hugs, about being picked up, about being gentle with a spider, about feeding the fire. Why don’t we talk about love more often? 

What Does This Mean For Next Time?

The Dene Laws are a wonderful foundation for the inquiries that we support at Bushkids. We will always continue to guard time and space for them at Bushkids. We will continue to talk about ethical space – upholding Indigenous knowledge systems and worldviews at Bushkids and what our role is in that. One role is understanding the Indian Act and its intentions and how it still exists today. We also notice a huge interest in bush skills and fort building so we will offer lots of invitations to play on that theme next week!