Updated: Apr 18
During the summer season, the outtake was meeting and getting familiar with, as well as creating bonds with everyone and learning more about Indigenous teachings. In summer, the sessions were enlightening and interesting. However, in the fall sessions, we transitioned from sunshine and brightness to darker themes and unravelling the ugly truth of history.
This season taught us that life isn’t always bright rainbows and sunshines. We were able to find the trust within each other and tell our own stories without any fear. Trust is a very important factor of true friendship and family. Trust can mean being able to have someone to talk to without the fear of them spilling it, knowing your words won’t be shared amongst those you aren’t ready to share it with yet. Trust can be built and broken. Once it’s broken, it’s quite difficult to build again, if not almost impossible. Without trust, there’s nothing in a healthy relationship. In the fall season sessions, I learnt many important things and felt lessons I could share through the readers of this post as it was quite memorable.
The Sessions recap
In the 3 fall season sessions, we started off with a brief introduction and a tour of the Kiyooka Ohe Arts Centre, where all our fall sessions took place. During the following week, we made paper out of leaves and plants, such as Abaca (the banana leaf). In the third and final week of our fall sessions, we had a gathering celebration and ceremony of putting up the red dresses and orange shirts. Which we made out of our paper we had created the week before. To start off, I felt an emotion in which I was connected; connected not only to the people surrounding me in the circle but also Mother Nature. It felt so special to be a part of the gathering circle after walking and hanging the orange and red shirts and dresses we had made. What made this experience more special was making the paper. It brought a more in-depth meaning, as if we were truly doing this from our hearts rather than using regular construction paper. Personally, I always try my best to give handmade gifts to my friends and family as it has a special meaning to it. Putting in effort and time to create our own paper in an environmentally friendly way to memorialize, brought the Indigenous perspective into these sessions. This teaching correlates to the topic we’re currently learning about in science known as global systems.
Climate Change and Global Warming. How it Affects us.
Global warming and climate change is taking over the world. Deforestation plays a big role in raising the risks of climate change. Cutting trees and forests releases carbon in the form of carbon dioxide as it depletes forests which absorb the carbon dioxide. Climate change is a serious issue in the world today and has been for over 150 years. You may be wondering what is climate change?
Climate change is the difference in the climate pattern for a large span of time. As well as reaching extreme temperatures. It’s around -5° C in winter in Canada and over 35° C in summer which is a huge difference. Although we all love the heat or “warm” weather, climate change is not just the weather. It is destroying the planet. Examples of this are the BC fires throughout the summer. There were over 140 fires in British Columbia in 2021 alone. One of the biggest fires was in Lyton, BC. The cause of these fires are due to the extreme heat and dryness in the area. 5 months after the fires, there was a huge flood in BC. This is due to the greenhouse gas emissions. Burning fossil fuels including oil, gas and coal are heating up the earth by releasing carbon dioxide.
What I Learned
The fall sessions not only taught me to care more about our planet and making paper out of materials that can go back to earth, but we also discussed a critical issue that was recorded in history. Residential schools.
Residential schools were a wrongful method of education in the 1800-1900s. Residential schools were a way the Roman Catholics taught Indigenous students to completely wipe away their culture and assimilate them. This way of teaching has placed such a great impact on society. The number of children found in mass grave sites around the residential schools rose from 215 to approximately 1361 in a matter of months. These are innocent children that have done nothing but live as an Indigenous child. It is unbelievable that children from families have been taken away and stolen from them. It’s not fair. Not fair to the children. Not fair for the families. Not fair to anyone. Family is really important, and knowing your sibling or child has been taken away and abused as per an “education” is unacceptable. Although it’s impossible to reverse the horrible decisions made by some people in the past, the least we can do is reconcile and apologize for our mistakes and actions, and do better going forward. One way to do this is to acknowledge the deaths of the many innocent individuals.
Memorialization is an important tradition in many cultures. Every different family or culture memorializes in a different way. For example, in my culture as a Muslim, we give money to charity on behalf of the individual as well as make prayers for them. In Hinduism , they believe that after death, the soul is reborn in a different form. As well as the ashes are scattered in a sacred body of water; however it can depend on the family as everyone is different. Memorialization, no matter in which way, is always important. Whether it is making prayers for them or thinking about their impact on our life.
Memorializing the Indigenous children that were lost by Residential schools, and finding such a unique way to memorialize them, stood out to me. It made me realize what an impact it is to stand together with others. Standing in a circle hearing Elder Pablo’s words felt so special, and I’ll cherish these memories forever..
Dia De Los Muerto, and the Butterflies.
Additionally, during the first session in the Fall sessions we got to learn about Día de los Muerto, also known as the Day of the Dead. The Day of the Dead is celebrated not only by Mexicans but also Indigenous peoples.
It is celebrated to acknowledge ancestors and those who have passed, coming back to life. It is celebrated by offering food to their ancestors as well as dancing and spending time with others. It is most often decorated with lights and welcoming decor. It was very interesting to get to see the bright and englighting layout of the Ofrendas. All the different bright colours, even though it isn’t a happy moment, stood out to me. An interesting fact that amazed me was the release of monarch butterflies. These butterflies represent the souls of the ancestors who have passed, and also signifies those coming back.
Conclusion; Final words
Participating in the fall sessions allowed me to expand my knowledge on Indigenous peoples and their ways of learning. It was quite interesting to learn more about the cultures and certain holidays celebrated or looked upon by Indigenous peoples. It helped me expand my understanding on the impact of residential schools and realize the pain that is held by so many. It also allowed me to further understand the impact of those who have been lost through residential schools as well as those that were left behind, and how we can memorialize and recognize them.
Thankyou for taking the time to read this!
To learn more about Indigenous practices/culture/beliefs and more about climate change: