The CBC carried a story today about #MMIWG commissioners talking to students at the #Kahnawake Survival School (KSS) about the difficulties the enquiry has faced. Part of the exchange was tweeted by @ShenherLorimer:
"While most students sat quietly listening, one asked the commissioner's perspectives on why Indigenous women's cases are "brushed under the rug" by police. "They do it because they can get away with it," responded [Marion] Buller.
Thinking on it, I thought first of the Grade 10 who asked that question, and has to go out into Settler-Occupier Canada holding that answer. But my next thought was, my job isn’t to empathise, it’s to own it. Settler police, settler laws, settler state. I’m culpable. What can I do to change this? What am I still doing that supports it? Because actually, the kids at KSS are being well-equipped to confront this world.
I first heard a little bit about KSS from #Taiaiake Alfred, a Kahnawake #Mohawk educator and activist who explained how important it is to create spaces and places where kids can learn to “be” who they are - how they fit into the world according to the ways of their ancestors, taught in their languages, immersed in their cultures.
As an educator at an institution that is very committed to #indigenization (ugliest word ever!) I work hard to make my university a place where indigenous students feel secure and supported. But it’s still completely on our colonizer terms, based on western European traditions and standards and ways of thinking - that’s a tension and a problem. Places like KSS demonstrate that there is another way coming….
a secondary-level school with a mission to produce proud and self-sufficient Kanien’kehá:ka youth through a powerful curriculum based on Kanien’kehá:ka language, beliefs, and traditions. Established in 1978 in protest of the implementation of Bill 101 in Quebec schools, KSS establishes a strong cultural foundation in which students may build their Kanien’keha:ka identity upon.
Places like the KSS are not corners carved out of western academic environments where indigenous students can escape to, or a syllabus concession to teaching a First Nations novel, or protocol at the start of a formal occasion. This is full-on #empowerment and a real pathway to an #IndigenousResurgence.
It can look like this: here’s the Mobilization Framework from the Kahnawake Education Centre