Faculty of Education
- Rob Vanwynsberghe
City of Vancouver:
- Wendy Mendes
- Tobias Lemay
- Jenna Dur
- Mia Meekyoung Jeung
- Engaged City Task Force
Exploring our Roles is an online conversation club for newcomers to look at the topics of colonization, reconciliation, and systemic racism. In this conversation club, we emphasized that we all have a role and responsibility to play in taking meaningful action towards reconciliation.
One of our most important roles in this project has been to dispel harmful myths about Indigenous peoples that many non-Indigenous Canadians hold. We were inspired to create resources and creative, engaging educational opportunities so that newcomers would be more informed about the history of this land and would not be perpetuating these myths within their communities. We also hoped to look for meaningful ways that Vancouver could continue to follow-through on its promise to be a “City of Reconciliation”. With these goals in mind, we created a transformative online learning community for newcomers to help us all explore our roles as non-Indigenous peoples living on unceded land. For a full curriculum containing lesson plans, slideshows, and resources, see the Exploring Our Roles website.
In five Zoom sessions, the conversation club explored the following topics: the Indian Act, Residential Schools, Land Acknowledgments, Myths and Facts, A Decolonized History of Vancouver, Monuments and Spaces, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and finally, Solidarity and Action.
Each session was made up of land acknowledgments, opening activities, essential vocabulary, small and large group discussions, creative activities, and fun homework. We recognized the importance of creativity, joy, and levity in our programming, and, in light of this, we wove simple games and various hands-on activities throughout our programming. We shared many videos, resources, and articles through Zoom, a Google site, and Google Classroom.
It was a powerful learning experience, and many participants agreed that these English conversation clubs should continue in the future.