OAKVILLE, ON — In January, Rubicon author and series editor Robert Cutting presented to teacher candidates at Niagara University and Ontario Tech University.
Through storytelling and music, Cutting described Turtle Island in the past, prior to first contact, and up to present day. As the candidates listened, Cutting explained why it is so important to know the history of the People of Turtle Island as well as who they are today. “It is vital that we listen to their voices to hear their stories so that we can get a complete picture of Canada and the Americas in general. Our history must include the history of the People if we are to truly enter a time of reconciliation. This involves becoming aware that Canada is a young country with a long history stretching back thousands of years when the Onkwehonwe (Original People) inhabited the land.”
Cutting gave examples of how we can achieve this in the classroom: through guest speakers sharing their stories, curricula that address the Calls to Action surrounding education from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and land acknowledgements given at the beginning of school days. At the end of his workshops, Cutting outlined ways of working Indigenous practices into the classroom, from using circle learning to a method of gaining audience respect for speakers through the use of talking devices, such as feathers.