I dream of a community…

Where First Nations people are included as equals and supported in contributing to everyone’s well being;

Where schools work to teach everyone, not just aboriginal students, to understand and respect native culture;

Where native children learn about their people’s history and practices alongside their non-native classmates instead of in segregated programs;

Where learning about native history and practices is viewed as of equal importance as passing along knowledge from non-native societies;

Where students of all backgrounds and abilities are encouraged to advance their knowledge of aboriginal cultures;

Where combining native studies with learning assistance programs is understood to be both racist and ridiculous;

Where teachers are given the books and resources that they want and need to include native perspectives, history, culture and stories in all curriculums;

Where federal aboriginal educational funding is directed towards creating a climate of equality and acceptance instead of being used to fund inherently racist programs;

Where all school staff can pronounce and spell the names of all local First Nations;

Where all teachers are able to explain the significance of native structures and important native community events;

Where respect is shown for the First people of each area by including elders from these traditional territories in important school events and educational programming;

Where native children are challenged throughout their learning to support them in reaching their highest potential;

Where aboriginal children are expected to graduate with full credentials and pursue higher learning at the college and university level;

Where aboriginal students are supported in feeling that they are important, equal and highly valued members of both the educational and greater community;

Where native learning does not involve segregation and labeling and inherent beliefs that native cultural education is not important for the non-native school population;

Where non-native roles in the history of First Nations people are presented fully and accurately instead of leaving everyone to make up their own versions based on unfortunate biases;

Where we have all worked together, both native and non-native, to build a better society that works for us all. 

Kathleen Westergaard’s spiritual journey has taken her home to Village Island, Haida Gwaii and Campbell River. As the mother of James Aul Sewid’s great grand-children, she has had the privilege of living and learning in the Kwakwaka’wakw culture for many years and is looking forward to many more.