Monday, July 15, 2013

Native Studies vs. History

July 15, 2013
    Some young men past grade 12 in their communities, visited our school classroom and saw the History/ Social Studies display on the wall. It had a map of Canada as the centre. They said “ We didn’t learn any of those things. We don’t know any of this stuff. “. To my knowledge we are the only school in the area which flies a flag of Canada. We have had  campers who don’t know the first line of “O Canada” and have no idea that they are suppose to stand at attention when the National Anthem is sung. One grade 8 student coming from La Ronge could not identify the Canadian flag amidst other flags.
    In the provincial standards the credit for History or Social Studies for graduation can be replaced by Native Studies. Many northern and reserve  schools accept this option. Cathy Merasty Connor from Sandy Bay was one of the founders of L’Ecole Notre Dame du Nord. She was a staunch Catholic. In several schools she was assigned Native Studies. She was very opposed to much of the curriculum because it was anti- Catholic and racist. She saw it as a vehicle to teach a false religion. Her husband was told in one school not to teach any history of Europe but he said that the students wanted to know why are some people Catholic and some Anglican. They had other questions that only led to Europe.
    In itself there is nothing wrong with teaching the history of Canadian aboriiginal people. But how can anyone know if what is being taught is true unless there is a frame work  within their country, Canada.
    One person told me that at residential school at  some meals they only had macaroni and that’s all.  Many of his grandchildren living around him gladly eat meals like that .Isn’t it a good idea that children and adults in Saskatchewan know what others were experiencing in the 1930's? There was the Great Depression and terrible Drought( No Rain).Many children were going to school hungry, had rickets,and walked to a one room “cabin” where the teacher had not been paid for months. People saw their gardens and even clothes on the line eaten by grasshoppers while soil on their land was blown away. Although there were compulsory school attendance many children could not go to school at all. In Newfounldand, still a colony and not a province, people were literally starving.
    Some Native Studies students may be taught at home or school that their grandfathers fought in “ The War” but they won’t know the dates of WWI, WWII , or  the Korea War. They won’t hear about the genocide of the Jewish people and others especially Catholics . They won’t hear certainly about Hitler’s racism fueled by paganism from the past .They won’t hear about the heroic Canadians including their grandfathers at Vimy Ridge, Passchendale, Mons, Juno Beach in Normandy. They won’t be able to identify England, The English Channel, France or Germany. They’s never have heard, let alone have memorised “ In Flander’s Fields,”
    In Native Studies they will learn that natives have always been the victims since the Whiteman stepped foot on the Americans, that this country really belongs to them. They won’t hear real history of pre- Jacques Cartier days ( nor will they know who he is) They will not hear of constant battles between native groups, of  slavery and torture of each other, how women  were treated often as slaves or worse. They will not hear of the evil  power of demon practices because the word “ evil” is not politically correct. In Native Studies they will learn propaganda against the Country their ancestors shaped and defended many, many times. Gay