In a recent project for a Queen's University course, I sought to answer the question What can settler allies do to work towards reconciliation with Indigenous people in Canada?
I chose this question because I am often asked why I was drawn to study Indigenous history. This question allowed me to explore in more depth my own journey to reconciliation. The literature review that you will find here explains my academic journey to reconciliation. This academic journey has often led me to reflect on the life journey that began for me in the historic town of St. Paul-des-Metis.
Today the town of St. Paul is predominantly populated by people of French and Ukranian ancestry and an ever-growing community of new Canadians. There are many First Nation communities in the near vicinity, including Frog Lake, Kehewin, Saddle Lake and Goodfish Lake, as well as Metis communities like Fishing Lake. As I was attending secondary school, the divisions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous were clearly entrenched, and this was my "normal."
It was only when I returned to post-secondary studies that I began to question the "normal" of my formative years. We are the product of all of our "normals" as we undertake the walk of life. We can only humbly ask that we are blessed with the wisdom to embrace the learning opportunities that are presented to us -- so that we can regard everyone that we encounter as a dignified human being.
Education comes in many forms. For me, education came through post-secondary studies and the life experiences, both challenging and rewarding, that helped shape my outlook now as a settler ally to Canada's Indigenous people.