May 23, 2013

Skills for Solidarity

Skills for Solidarity is an online education program to help people who want to learn more about being a good ally that is being run right now by Lead Now.


It is designed for non-native folks who want to participate as powerful allies in the amazingly inspiring Idle No More movement in Canada.

The program has 5 lessons:

Lesson 1 - Brief historical overview (colonization, treaties, the Indian Act, residential schools, etc.)
Lesson 2 - How does this history shape and define the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada today?
Lesson 3 - What does it mean to be an ally to Indigenous-led movements in Canada?
Lesson 4 - Webinar on Indigenous solidarity
Lesson 5 - Where do we go from here?

as they put it:

"We recognize that each of these themes are massive on their own and that we will not be able to cover everything in 20-30 minutes per week. The goal of the program is to provide an introduction to the themes, but it’s up to all of us to continually explore and learn about them.

Will this program turn us all into perfect allies?  
No, but it’ll give us tools that we can use throughout our lives as we engage in ally relationships.

Throughout the program, you may feel surprised and challenged by what you are learning. You may experience discomfort at some of the concepts being presented, or the questions being asked of you.

Doing ally work includes a lot of personal self-reflection, and becoming aware of the ways in which we are all part of structural systems of power. It can be uncomfortable.

As good allies, it’s important for us to feel this discomfort because it’s necessary for change.

However, solidarity work isn’t about feeling guilty. It’s a process of continually asking critical questions and being open to making mistakes. It’s about listening, acting, reflecting, and continually learning.

This program is an introduction to the ongoing process of living into ally relationships.

By the end of this program, we will not walk away knowing everything about our nations’ histories. We will not be able to check a box or hold up a certificate that shows we are allies.

However, we will have a stronger understanding of the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada, a better understanding of our own role in that relationship, and a toolkit to help us continue exploring our ever-evolving role as allies. ......

And now a few questions to get you started:
1) Do you know whose traditional territory you grew up on?
2) Do you know whose traditional territory you live on now?
3) Do you know the status of that territory (contested, under treaty negotiations, governed by a pre-confederacy treaty, governed by a post-confederacy treaty)?

It’s okay if you don’t know yet - try searching online and see what you come up with. You might find contradictory information. You might not be able to find any information at all about where you live. The fact that it’s hard to find this information speaks to the complexities of approaching these topics and that’s part of what this program will be exploring."

It's intended for Canadians, but could be useful even if you're not. If you'd like to join sign up here.
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