Have you ever questioned the one-sided stories, ideas, and structures presented in the education system? Have you thought to yourself, “there are three sides to every story — this side, that side… and the truth?” Well, RAVEN (Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs) has set out to deliver exactly that. Through a free 10-part course titled Home on Native Land, RAVEN is determined to “put truth before reconciliation” (RAVEN, 2022) by sharing the side the history books left out.
“The series was developed out of a desire to unpack the complex legal concepts that are baked into the foundation of this country, and to equip people with an understanding of where outdated and unjust laws can be challenged and changed,” says Susan Smitten, executive director for RAVEN. Home on Native Land is a self-guided and self-paced course, focusing on the history of Indigenous law and justice.
In a world where the history books are written by the “victors,” Home On Native Land is an opportunity to learn Canadian history from an Indigenous perspective and explore the Indigenous laws shut out by colonial structures. Alongside luminaries like Haida lawyer Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson, scholar Jeff Corntassel, and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law Dr. John Borrows, participants will turn over “rocks to show the racist foundations of land tenure” and learn about various Indigenous achievements throughout history.
“People have ways of relating to the land and to one another that allowed people to live on these lands and waters for thousands of years without disrupting the ecological balance; however, over the past 150 years, those values were ignored, and their rights have often been trampled. Indigenous laws – upheld by Treaties and validated in case after case in the country’s courts – offer a path forward not only for cultural understanding but also for our very survival in a time of climate crisis.”
—Susan Smitten, RAVEN
The course is designed to be lighthearted, informative and riddled with the arts of storytelling and comedy. With conversational-style video lessons and cartoons, Anishinaabe comedian Ryan McMahon honours the oral-based culture and teaching system of Indigenous people and allows the participants to learn about the Indigenous laws that predate Canada’s constitution.
The course hopes to welcome non-Indigenous participants to learn about Indigenous history and culture, and to provide a space for Indigenous participants to live in their truth. “Knowledge is power,” says Smitten, “Home on Native Land is an important step for us to join forces and become part of putting reconciliation into action.”
Home on Native Land Webinar
The Sentinel Educational Foundation is proud to present RAVEN’s Andrea Palframan and Conrad Young in a webinar that gives a sneak peek of Home on Native Land on Thursday, December 8, 2022, at 6.30 pm Pacific Time. Sentinel readers may register directly here.
Pa̱x̱a̱la, Desiree Mannila is a proud member of the Da’naxda’xw Nation, and staff reporter for the Watershed Sentinel.