“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.”—Mark Victor Hansen
Decolonisation in the classroom doesn't have to be that hard.
Okay, so you don’t have the institutional power as a single teacher within the system to radically alter the method of teaching that you are required under contract to abide by. Okay. That sucks, yes.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t begin the process of decolonisation while still respecting state-mandated curriculum.
I am teaching my students the history of the Americas. I am reaffirming for them that this history did not begin at Contact.
We don’t have time to do University-level explorations of individual indigenous cultures, and that’s fine. That can come later. However, I start from the tip of South America (Tierra del Fuego) and bring it ‘up’ (lol at the concept of up on a sphere), quickly noting the variety of indigenous nations throughout the Americas, stopping to briefly study some more in-depth.
And when it comes time to introduce the Europeans? It’s not hard to do some from the indigenous perspective as peoples who were here first. From the Conquest, to the Peace and Friendship Treaties, you can track the different approaches and the consequences of those approaches. You can see the way the relationships changed, for the better, or (and in most cases) for the worse.
Some people have been questioning my approach as being too radical. Which is hilarious to me. What is radical about telling the truth?