Throughout doing research for this project, I have noticed my eye catching a lot of headlines in the news that pertain to my topic. Recently I came across an article that surprisingly one of my friends I had grown up with, shared on social media that I couldn’t help but find so intriguing. The article is titled “Why Indigenous Studies Shouldn’t Be Mandatory; It’s redundant, it’s unfair, and coercion causes resentment” and it is found on Maclean’s website. This was even more interesting to me that she chose to share her ideas about Indigenous studies being invaluable as she herself has Métis background.
This article hits very close to home because it is specifically about University of Regina students. Although I do appreciate the concerns of some students in the article for the reasons why they feel they shouldn’t have to take the class, there is one specific part of the article that really stood out to me:
“I’m with him. Indigenous Studies is fine as an elective. But for many, it would be a waste of time and money. Above all, it’s wrong to force students to take classes focused on one minority’s history—especially when that minority’s history is already widely-covered in Canadian K-12 curricula.”
The reason I disagree with this is because I know first hand that the “minority’s history” is definitely NOT widely covered in Canadian schools even if it is included in the curriculum. I feel like I can say that with confidence because I grew up in a small town where we did not follow the curriculum, as we should have. Therefore, as I mentioned previously, I had zero exposure to any type of Treaty Education. I didn’t even know what a residential school was until my second semester of university.
I know that I can’t speak for all small towns, or even for people my age about what and when they were exposed to Indigenous education, however, I am familiar with the current curriculum and I was just in a high school where “the minority’s history” was not taught. Even though Aboriginal history is an essential aspect to the curriculum, it is unfortunately not always emphasized, as it should be.
For those reasons, this is why the article upset me. The fact that someone would say that the history is previously covered therefore we no longer have to learn it, is quite upsetting. Especially because my generation in particular there seems to be some sort of divide with the minority of our Aboriginal population because many people my age were not exposed to the important historical events that have had major impact on Indigenous people. This in turn then made many people ignorant and very unforgiving to the much more prominent stereotypes that we were exposed to instead.
Even just the title of the article itself is problematic. Educating our Canadian people about the Indigenous population and their trial and tribulations they have suffered is absolutely necessary because it is such a crucial aspect of our country’s past. Claiming that making this type of education mandatory is going to cause resentment is just proving the point that the lack of correct Indigenous education is prevalent in our society.
I found a article arguing why the fact that someone actually wrote this article is PROOF that Indigenous studies needs to mandatory. If you felt upset like I did reading the article in Maclean’s, I would strongly suggest reading this post by Bannock + Butter on Tumblr.
To drive my point home, I will end with this quote; “he objects to being forced to spend $650 and countless hours on a subject he’s not interested in”.
Is the tragic history of our country’s people merely a subject that one can choose to participate in? I disagree with this article and think that choosing to participate in the Indigenous studies of Canada shouldn’t be a choice as the culture and repercussions of mistreatment surrounds us more then ever today.