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This month's interview is with educator Ryan Neepin (Fox Lake Cree Nation). Ryan is about to finish his Master of Teaching from the University of Toronto, and at the same time has been guest lecturing in the program alongside Nancy Steele to bring Indigenous pedagogies and content to teacher candidates.
Ryan advises non-Indigenous teachers to "join your students in the circle and become a co-learner."
Ryan generously shared his story of coming back to and remembering his families Cree teachings and lived history in his adulthood after the passing of his grandmother, and what this has meant for his teaching practice. He is a strong advocate for other Indigenous people to enter the teaching profession.
For all teachers he suggests:
- Using memoirs and autobiographies as a way to enter into relationship with Indigenous peoples in the classroom.
- Reaching out and fostering long-term relationships with Indigenous neighbours in your school community as an end in itself, rather than as a specific, short-term goal such as securing guest speakers.
Here are some resources that Ryan recommends:
- The Mishomis Book: The Voice of the Ojibway by Edward Benton-Benai
- They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at Indian Residential School by Bev Sellars
- The Truth About Stories by Thomas King (Audio of these lectures available from CBC)
- CBC's 8th Fire (documentary)