Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What if I'm not Indigenous, can I still use this toolkit to lead a workshop or class?
A: Yes, of course! This toolkit is designed as a good starting point, and isn't meant to replace expert instruction. Both Indigenous instructors and non-Indigenous instructors have valuable insight, because colonization impacts us all. However, if you are a non-Indigenous Instructor, when appropriate, seek out as many authentic Indigenous resources, people, organizations and media as possible, in order to continue to center Indigenous perspectives, instead of speaking for them.
Q: I don't have the time in my class for the whole timeline, is it possible to use a shortened version?
A: Yes, this is possible. I'm working on creating an abridged version of this timeline for such situations. In the mean time, feel free to pick and choose from the dates yourself to create a program that will suit the needs of your class. There are many themes within the timeline such as residential schools, Indian status, voting rights, and human rights. If you do decide to shorten the program, try to ensure that there is some balance to the dates you pick!
Q: What do I say to a student who thinks spending all of this time on Indigenous history is showing favouritism to one race?
A: This is a tough question, because it might be coming from a place of discomfort with the material. I think it's important in this kind of situation to let the student feel heard, and then revisit the reasons why it is important to learn about the side of history that is not often given attention in Canada, especially given the lasting consequences of colonization on Indigenous people. One important thing to remember is that learning about Indigenous history doesn't mean that other kinds of history are less important, but that learning about Canada in a way that does not include Indigenous peoples is incomplete learning. It might also be a good idea to see if they are open to reading more about the subject, and continuing discussion after class, or via email if time is short.
Q: How can I include my Indigenous students in this workshop respectfully? Don't they already know this stuff?
A: This is a very thoughtful question. It's true that Indigenous students are more likely to know about Indigenous history than most average students in Canada, but there is still a lot that they can learn by participating in this workshop. You might have to read the air, to see if they'd be willing to speak about these topics from an Indigenous perspective, or not. However it is important that you don't put them on the spot, don't assume they're experts on all Indigenous people ( this is often called pan-Indianism, or pan-Indigeneity).
Q: How do I invite an elder into the classroom?
A: This is an excellent idea! Before doing so, make sure you have enough time for them to speak, and consult with them in advance about the purpose of the workshop and any details you need to sort out in advance. This is covered in more detail in the teacher's guide section of this website.
Q: Should I provide trigger warnings or content warnings for sensitive images and historical events?
A: This is a very thoughtful question. It would be beneficial to mention that there will be sensitive topics covered in the course of working through the toolkit and timeline. If you are going to show any videos that might have sensitive content, it would also be helpful to mention that before showing them to your participants. Additionally, make it clear that if at any time during the workshop one is experiencing distress over the content, it is more than appropriate and acceptable to leave, and take time to decompress, or speak to the instructor in private before or after the class.
Q: My student is very upset after learning about residential schools, how do I support them?
A: One sad aspect of learning the true history of Canada that includes Indigenous perspectives is that much of the content is extremely upsetting. Ask your students how they would best feel supported, and provide them with access to any counselors, helplines, or relevant mentors as needed. If they're comfortable with it, it might also be helpful to put them in touch with their local Native student association or local friendship center for further resources.
Q: Can I add another date to the timeline? I think that this event is really important!
A: Absolutely! This timeline is by no means exhaustive, and should serve as a jumping off point for further inquiry and education. If you'd like to include in in this website, feel free to submit it here: Submissions Page.
Q: How can I make this workshop more land-based?
A: I love this question, as land-based education is a great step to take towards decolonizing the educational environment! This workshop is very flexible, and can be conducted almost anywhere. You can easily modify the classroom timeline activity by taking it outdoors, so long as you find a way to make sure the timeline cards don't blow away! Also you can add game elements to the assembly of the timeline in both stages (such as relay style elements). Alternately, this is a great opportunity to go on a field trip to a nearby Indigenous community, historical place, or natural place to take the learning further.
Q: How do I assess student learning in this workshop?
A: Assessment for this workshop is not going to look like a traditional rubric-style spectrum of grades. The material is challenging and heavy, and deep engagement with it requires the vulnerability of participants to admit what they don't know, and experience building up the gaps in their knowledge through collective inquiry. The steps of collaboratively sorting through the cards in small groups, putting them on the wall, and then re-arranging them in their correct order is all a process of self-assessment, on both an individual and group scale.
Q: I found this amazing resource that would be PERFECT for your timeline! How can I send it to you?
A: Thank you so much! I'm always looking out for great new resources to include (books, podcasts, websites, articles, videos and other kinds of media), feel free to submit it here: Submissions Page.