Creating A Counter Narrative

View my counter narrative here.

Growing up sitting around the campfire has always been a ritual for my family each and every year. Before all of the snow has even left the ground my family is sitting around the home-made fire-pit that brings us all together. When I listened to Aysha’s, and Kayci’s stories I realized that we all had similar rituals that involved a campfire. With each of us reminiscing on the times we’ve spent together around the campfire, neither of us took time to think about what a privilege we have to be able to relax and enjoy moments like this with our family and friends.

Not many people realize white privilege when they see it. Usually white privilege is overlooked because it is the social norm or in other words the dominant discourse. As Peggy McIntosh has stated people tend to overlook what is right in front of them such as, the fact that “skin colour” is seen as a beige colour rather than a darker brown. This shows how white privilege has dominated the social norm and has been overlooked. This compares to the stories each of us wrote about the campfire and how it has shaped us into who we are today because each of us never took the time to express how being in the social class that we are in gives us certain opportunities such as, being able to enjoy a nice family orientated campfire with our family and friends.

When writing my story I am guilty to say that I never took into consideration at my white privilege or rather my privilege altogether. I never thought of other people that might not have the ability to spend a night relaxing around the campfire for various reasons one being white privilege. Also, I never took into consideration that my family owns the land that we have our yearly campfires. Some people are not fortunate enough to own land of their own and many people that do tend to overlook it as a social norm.

All in all, white privilege is a concept that tends to be overlooked and people don’t take the time to recognize it. Being able to sit around a campfire is not something that everyone can do and the people that can do it don’t acknowledge it as a privilege but rather the social norm which Kayci, Aysha, and I all did.

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Writing the Self #5: [Tractor Tire Rim]

The match stick strikes across the match box leaving a white scratch on the scratch pad. The match strikes across the match box another time and within a blink of an eye the end of the match stick ignites with a tiny flame. The match stick falls to the ground and the flame grown and the bonfire begins.
The crackling of the fire lets out sparks that fly free into the sky and disappear within a blink of an eye. My family surrounds the home-made fire-pit that brings us all together. A tractor tire rim lays in the middle of my front yard. The tractor tire rim has a cold, hard, rust colour that shows its age. Around the base of the tire rim is rocks of different shape and size that my siblings and I hauled from the lane to our house just beyond the Caraganas that border our front yard. Inside the tire rim is grey and black ashes that has the texture of dust that if touched would just crumble away in your hand from the several bonfires that take place each and every year.
To my left is my little sister. She is usually snuggled up in her blanket making sure to keep her back protected from the cool summer night. She is starting at the fire as if she has been hypnotized by the flame dancing around the fire-pit. Beside her is my little brother sitting close to the fire so that he can poke it occasionally and grab wood to throw on the fire when the fire starts to die down. Beside him is my older brother sitting hunched over with his legs spread as if he is ready to dive right into the fire. He is sharing stories of his childhood memories with my dad. Across the fire from him is my dad telling stories of his childhood and the grandfather that my siblings and I never got to meet. Beside my dad is my mom listening to the conversation to bobbing her head ready to doze off into her dreams.
The moon is lite up like a light bulb shinning over us. The crickets are in the distance making sound in the near by swamps and the lightning bugs are off in the distance lighting up every so often. The flame dances in the fire-pit right in front of me and right at this moment everyone is quiet. At moments like this nothing can hurt me or my family. Every worry suddenly vanishes and it’s just my family and I under the cool night sky. This tractor tire rim is more than an old piece of junk but rather to my family it is something the enlightens our life and brings us close together. It give my family a sense of security, a sense of unity.

Reading Response #3

“Sykes, for example, argues that gender profoundly impacts on our lives, politics and subjectivities–common sense notions that girls will be girls and boy will be boys are simply inadequate and fail to account for how students experience and embody their gender identities” (Martino, p 135).

This quote really stuck out to me. It frustrates me that people believe that girls should be doing “girl things” and boys should be doing “boy things”. What exactly determines if a thing is for boys or girls? Just because most girls wear make-up doesn’t mean a boy can’t and just because a boy plays with trucks doesn’t mean a girl can’t. Yes, I agree that gender impacts our lives in several different ways. Gender can determine where you stand within society. Students experience and embody their gender identities in different ways and no way is right or wrong. The social norm is for girls to desire boys and for boys to desire girls; this is not the case for all boys and girls. Girls can be strong, empowering, and a hero. Boys can be weak, emotional, and a superstar. Myself as wanting to become a teach needs to understand that students do not experience and embody their gender identities through the way society portrays things to be but rather how they feel as a person and within themselves.

How had the reading and Laura’s talk influenced your future classroom?

Laura’s talk was very beneficial to me. I learned a lot of things that I did not know about trans-gender people. I knew that people who classify themselves to be trans-gender were normal people with normal lives. One mind-set that I have is that people are always fighting a battle that you know nothing about; therefore, be kind always. Laura really showed that through her story. Laura battled with herself for many years trying to hide her femininity from the world. Now when I step into a classroom I need to know before I possibly jump to conclusions about a child I need to remember that they could too be fighting a battle I know nothing about. The battle with the particular child might not be something of sexuality but it could be something that could be of concern that I know nothing about. Laura’s talk really helped me see this. If Laura had a person or environment where she felt safe and comfortable she might have been able to face her reality a little sooner than her mid to late forties. My plan as a future educator is to create a space within my classroom where students can come and feel comfortable to show who they really are and talk about their feelings if they feel the need to.

Martino, W. (2012). “‘Undoing’ Gender and Disrupting Hegemonic Masculinity: Embracing a Transgender Social Imaginary” Critical Voices in Teacher Education, 125-138.

The Storied Self in Relation: [Family is Where Home Remains]

Part 1:

Where is home? A person might think of a specific place but when I thought of home, I instantly thought of my family. Throughout my story I went on to describe what I have gone through within the past two years. The past two years have been a roller coaster, I went on to talk about how my doctors found a hole in my heart and how my parents were there through the entire process. I finished my story by saying, “Throughout my story my parents were there through everything. My home isn’t a specific place. Where every my family is is where my home remains. My home moves around a lot. My home is my family.” I believe that seeing your family as your home is dominant narrative because people usually grow up with their parents or guardian.

After reading through a few blogs, I began reading Matt Hughes’ blog post about home and found that him and I thought very similar. Matt went on to describe how home was wherever he felt comfortable and accepted. Once I read this I realized that I was very much the same. Home was wherever I felt comfortable and accepted, which my family did for me. Matt said, “Whether if I was in a mansion, or a small little house, I could only call the place home if the people who care about me were there.” I believe that he couldn’t have said it any better. When I was going through tests to find out what was wrong with my heart my parents were there for me every step of the way; therefore, the hospital felt like home to me because my family was there to make me feel comfortable and accepted.

After reading Matt’s blog I went on to find another blog post that was similar to ours and resonated with me, that is when I came across Erin Stueby’s blog. Her blog post about home struck a cord with me. Erin started off by saying where she lived and classified it as her home but later went on to say, “However, this house that I lived in was not what I called home; my home was wherever my family was.” Erin described her childhood and it was very much like mine. I was the middle child just like her and got along with my siblings some of time and an agreement could be solved with a quick Charlie horse or dog pile, which Erin states. Erin’s story was very similar to mine and I was able to relate easily.

Part 2:

Trying to find a story that disrupted the dominant narrative was very difficult. Once I came across Kent LeNouail’s blog post about home it really stood out to me. He did not necessarily say that his family was his home like many others did. But rather, Kent stated that Yorkton, Saskatchewan was his home. For me, I found this interesting because I lived only a short distance from him outside the city of Melville, Saskatchewan. Even through we lived only a town over we both have different perspectives on what home is to us. Near the end of Kent’s story he said, “Home has always been Yorkton for me and always will be.” Kent attached the idea of home to the city of Yorkton and he says throughout his story that one day he would like to move back there and teach at his old school and possibly coach the basketball team there. For me, my home is to move close to my family. I have always been a family person and wherever my family that is home to me.

Trying to find a class reading that went along with what home is to a person was difficult. I had to dig a little deeper to find a sense of home. When I was reading The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative by Thomas King I noticed that King talks about how he never got to see his father and how he planned it would be if he ever got the chance. When King finally thinks that he has the chance to meet his father he gets the terrible news that his father has passed. King grew up with him mother and brother in a time where woman were not accepted in the male workforce (King. 2003. pg 2-6). King ends this part of his story with, “That’s my family. These are their stories” (King. 2003. pg 8). This made me think about my family. King grew up not knowing my family whereas, I have always known mine. Therefore, I have always pictured my family as my home. But in King’s instance he never really knew his father because he left when he was three or four. Therefore, King might see his home as a specific place.

I decided to pick the stories about home because my family is very important to me. Therefore, I figured that I would be able to either connect with other peoples stories or not connect with them at all. Family is a part of my life that I share with everyone. I am always telling stories about my family and the crazy adventures that we go on. Going through the blogs to find stories that were either similar or different than mine was interesting. I liked being able to read what others believed home was. Yes there was some differences but it was nice to see that a lot of people think like me and see home wherever their family is.

Writing the Self #4: [The Spontaneous Adventure]

I sat across the table for my favourite cousin male Daniel. Him and I were only two months apart; therefore, him and I did absolutely everything possible together. It was our first year sitting at the big table with the rest of the older children and the parents. The table was long and wide draped with a bright red table-cloth to represent the Christmas cheer. My grandpa had already laid out the fine china that we only us on special occasions like Christmas.
Daniel and I were told to sit at the table and wait until the food was ready. Daniel and I waited impatiently. Daniel started kicking me from under the table in the shin in the exact same spot each time. In his defence it was to make the time pass by quicker. After each kick I could feel my shin starting to bruise. I brought my leg back as far as I could and put as much force into my kick as possible and kicked him right in the shin. He screamed, “OUCH!” and I fell over laughing and after the pain had sided, Daniel joined me in laughter. My uncle Grant looked at us with great disappointment and Daniel and I knew that if we didn’t behave the next thing to come out of my uncles mouth would be, “smarten up, or else.” Therefore, Daniel and I waited patiently for supper.
Once supper was finished the parents started to clear the dishes from the table and pack the food away for leftovers. This was usually the time that us kids would hide so that we couldn’t get conned into washing dishes. In my family asking us kids to wash or dry dishes was like asking us if we wanted to go to prison. Both were nowhere near any of our interest.
My older male cousins had a bright idea to walk to the other side of town to the Co-Op to get some energy drinks. We crept our way into the kitchen where my aunties were running the water for dishes. We wanted to ask our mom if we could go on this amazing adventure we had planned out. The boys asked their moms and they said yes. Even my older brother got permission from my mom. Now, it was my turn to ask. I asked my mom if I could go with them and her reply was, “No, you can stay back with the rest of the girls and do dishes.” My eyes popped out of my head with anger and my mouth dropped with dissatisfaction.
Girls are supposed to be the one to stay back and do dishes and clean up after then guys while they sit around and watch tv, or in my case go on a spontaneous adventure to Co-Op. It was not fair! Growing up I was never the one to be like the rest of the girls. I was always hanging around with the guys doing “guy” things. My male cousins and I were always having competitions on who was stronger or faster. Me being structurally less fit than them I was usually never the one to come out on top, but when I did I sure did let the other boys know it.
In my families eyes boys were expected to be the ones working and doing all of the labour, and the girls were expected to do the work around the house. In my eyes this is not acceptable. I believe that both females and males can do outside work, labour, and house work. Gender should not determine what a person should do in means of a job/work.
All in all, what my mother said to me that Christmas eve night was nowhere near acceptable. Just because I was a female does not mean that I can not do things my other male cousins do.

Reading Response #2

I never really took the time to think about things in life such as why the colour of a band-aid is a beige colour and considered “skin colour”. In Peggy McIntosh’s list of privileges this is the one privilege that suck out to me the most. I could not believe that a beige colour is considered “skin colour”. What about the people who skin is a darker pigment? Another one that took me by surprise was the colour of make-up to match my skin. I can walk into a store, go down the make-up isle and find twenty different types of cover-up that will match my face but what about the people with a darker skin colour? There are maybe five different colours that they have to choose from. I have no idea what it must feel like to be these people who have difficulty getting a band-aid or make-up to match their skin colour and I may never know. But I do know that it is not fair. I don’t know what I would do if I was a person with these daily struggles.

Being a white female and reading Peggy McIntosh’s list of privileges it almost makes me feel ashamed. How is it fair that I get to walk in a store and see my skin colour as the only skin colour when it is definitely not the case. People should all be treated with the same amount of respect and equality. There is not just one skin colour there are several different skin pigments. Therefore, not one group should have privilege over another group. All in all, society favours one race and excludes several others.

Writing the Self 3: [What are we Black]

My auntie, cousin and I walked through the door to the restaurant one after another. We waited at the front desk waiting to be seated. The waitress came over and asked, “How many?” My auntie replied, “three.” The waitress politely said, “Okay, perfect. Follow me.” The three of us walked behind the waitress to the booth that was in the in the middle of the restaurant. My auntie took one side of the both and my cousin slid in to the booth on the side which I chose to sit on. The waitress said, “I will be with you shortly.”

I picked up my menu and began to flip through it as if it was the daily newspaper, making sure I didn’t miss anything. I looked around the newly renovated restaurant admiring how beautiful it looked. The booths were a cream colour and there was glass above the wall separating each booth from one another. There was flat screen televisions in every direction which displayed the sports channel.

My auntie asked my cousin and I, “Did you guys decide what you want to eat?” “No, not yet. I can’t decided between chicken fingers or lasagna,” I replied trying to make the difficult decision. By the time I finally came to the decision of chicken fingers it had been approximately fifteen minutes since the waitress showed us to our booth. My auntie began to get antsy and almost irritated that we still had not been asked what we wanted to drink or what we wanted to order.

The waitress went around to every table but ours and took the customers orders. By this time it had been approximately a twenty-minute wait and my auntie wouldn’t have it any longer. She called the waitress and said, “Excuse me! We are ready to order!” The waitress looked at us apologetically and replied, “Okay, thank you. I will be right with you.” The waitress went back into the kitchen and my auntie blurted out, “What are we black?!”

My face turned red with embarrassment as I tried to hide my face. How on earth could she have said something like that? It was 2008 people did not speak like that, or so I thought.

At that very moment I knew what it felt to recognize race and the pigment of my skin. I was indeed a white female and so what my family members that sat at the booth in that restraunt with me. Not only did I realize that a person can not choose their skin colour but I also learned that people could not decided how others acted because of their skin colour.

Jigsaw: Part 3

After the discussion that my group and I had I was outragged by how much history gets covered up. I felt almost ashamed for not knowing the things that happened within the past. I feel that society pushes the things that they want us to remember down our throats for instance that John A. Macdonald was our first prime minster, which is correct a person believe Canada became a country in 1867 after confederation. I don’t think that this information is necessarily wrong, I just think that people should be taught everything that happened throughout history, not just what society wants us to remember from history.

I think that the reason why I acted this way was because I was unaware of everything that went on. When in high school a person is taught about First Nations and Europeans, and the first contact between these two. I feel that other ethnic groups were left out even though they went through much of the same thing that the First Nations and Europeans did. The other ethnic groups are just as much Canadian as First Nations and Europeans. From what is taugh in high school it seems as if other ethnic groups just appeared in Canada and were just accepted, which was not the case.

People need to know what actually happened throughout history and not just the dominant narrative.

Jigsaw: Part 1 and 2 “We Must Farm to Enable us to Live” by Sarah A. Carter

Part 1:

After the singing of Treaties No. 4 and 6, the Plains Cree had difficulties building a farming lifestyle. The Aboriginal people wanted agriculture to be apart of the treaties and believed that they deserved what they were promised. The Aboriginal people of the western Plains were one of the first and largest groups that attempted agriculture west of the Red River Settlement.
As time progressed the Plains Cree people started to notice the decrease of the buffalo. When the buffalo started to decrease the Aboriginal people started to move around to where the food sources were most dominant. For instance, they move to where the buffalo, Saskatoon berries, the prairie turnip, and other edible food sources were. The tepee made it easy for the Aboriginal people to pick up and move when needed.
The Plains Cree people were always learning new ways to adapt and trade among people. The Plains Cree were determined to cultivate the land and make crops grow. When the Aboriginal people finally started to make progress within their agricultural stance the Government Officials brought in a policy that was called the Peasant Farming Policy, which stated that any Aboriginal person farming within the treaty 4 and 6 district had to cut their cultivated land to one acre and could only have one or two cows per family. The competition was too much for the settlers to handle and their crops were not surviving.
When the Government Officials brought the Peasant Farming Policy in most of the Aboriginals could not make ends meet with their crops. Therefore, most of the Aboriginal people decided to quite farming all together.

Part 2:

While I was reading this article I had a lot of “oh my goodness” moments. I was unaware that Aboriginal people even attempted to farm. I felt like it was all new information to me. Throughout my learning as a child I always thought to myself, “If the population of the buffalo were decreasing, why did the Aboriginal people not farm like the rest of the Settlers that came from Europe?” Little did I know that they did attempt to farm and when they finally got good at it the Settlers and government felt that they now had competition and made farming even harder for the Aboriginal people.
If I would have known that Aboriginal people did indeed attempt to farm and were actually good at it I think it would have made me have a different perspective on who Aboriginal people were/are. I agree with the article on how it says that Settlers believed that Aboriginal people were warriors, gatherers, or hunters (We Must Farm to Enable us to Live. Sarah A. Carter, Page 224). I thought this because throughout learning about Aboriginal people and the first contact that is what I was taught to believe. There was a huge part of the story that was left out and only a few points were stressed and repeated throughout my learning process.
Within the article its said that after the treaties were signed the Aboriginal people kind of just vanished into thin air (Page 220). Now with me looking back on what I have been taught, I agree with this statement. When we are being taught about history people tend to leave out the part about what the Aboriginal people did during the time that other wars and feuds were going on. For instance, we learn about residential school and what happened within them but we do not learn about what the other Aboriginal people were doing during this time, like farming.
Knowing this knowledge a person might not be so quick to judge Aboriginal people and create stereotypes about them. During this time Aboriginal people tried their absolute hardest to make an honest living. Some Aboriginal people worked harder then most Settler during this time. Most people would have a different perspective if they were taught the whole story instead the dominate narrative throughout history. Also, many people have stereotypes about Aboriginal people because they did not have an opportunity to learn things such as Aboriginal people were hard workers that tried to make an honest living but were defeated by the Settlers and the government.
As a nation knowing this knowledge we can be a nation of treaty people. Not many people consider themselves as treaty people because they do not know the whole story behind what happened within the treaty negotiations. If a person was to learn that indeed Aboriginal people are much the same as European people maybe they could come to the realization that the treaty negotiation did not just benefit Aboriginal people but also Canadians as a whole.
All in all, I feel that if parts of history were not left out such as, Aboriginal people attempting to make an honest living farming then perhaps people would be able to understand and relate to people of different ethnicity. Canada is made up of a lot of different ethnicity’s and I believe that history is important to learn so that people of different ethnic backgrounds can relate and understand people from different ethnic background then them. History should be told in a way that does not leave out any detail, minor or not.

Writing the Self #2: [A Cold Canadian]

My cousin and I bundled up into our snowsuits with two pairs of socks and several pairs of mites. We headed for the door with great excitement! The ski-doo roared outside waiting for us to jump on. “Make sure to stay in the field right next to our place and not to venture too far. Don’t go too fast and make sure to hold on!” my parents would shout out after us as we dashed for the ski-doo. Our heads would bob back and forth from the weight from the over sized ski-doo helmets that sat upon our shoulders.

My dad would explain how everything worked like he did every time we wanted to ride the ski-doo. “This is the throttle and this is the break. Make sure to gradually press on the throttle otherwise you will jump forwards. And don’t get stuck!” My cousin and I would be jumping with excitement rolling our eyes telling my dad, “Yes, yes we know! Now can we go?” “Yes, just be careful” my dad would say before we jumped on the ski-doo.

We would hop on to the ski-doo my cousin on the back and me on the front listening to my parents yell over the ski-doo, “We love you. Be safe!” My tiny thumb gradually pushed up against the throttle as we left the yard and into the field, next to our house. As soon as we were out of sight of the parents my thumb extended as far as it could go. My cousin’s and my helmets clanked together as we hit any sort of bump as we went through the field.

I stopped the ski-doo and opened my visor on my helmet and felt the cool, crisp air pierce my face. I took a deep breath and the cold, harsh air filled my lungs and took my breath away causing me to cough imitatively. A buff of air escaped from my lips and a cloud of breath stood in front of me and then vanished right before my eyes. I gradually pushed my thumb up against the throttle and we started to move again. The air hit my face even harder and faster. I could feel my face getting cold, my face started to stiffen. But instead of stopping or putting my visor back down I pushed harder on the throttle. I was free and the cold was not going to stop me from the rush I got from going so fast. Right at that instance I realized what others were missing out on. That is when I realized I was Canadian. The cold air could not hurt me but only strengthen me! I was free! I was Canadian!