Decolonizing of the Mind

 

I sit here, wondering what it means for an encounter to be decolonizing?  I mean, can I include a collective of encounters?  If so, I would have to say the most essential decolonizing encounter I have had is going to University.  Specifically, going in to the faculty of education at the University of Regina.  Before this, my views of the world were highly Westernized.  Without a doubt, I still privilege western ways of knowing in my mind– they are after all what I have learned for twenty years.  However, being a student at the University of Regina has been the most important decolonizing encounter of my life.  I have learned to question knowledge and places.  Why is the land divided in the way that it is?  Why do we even divide the land?  Why do we not share it?  These are questions that I have been asking myself since my first days as a pre-service teacher.

Ho wrote “without unpacking the colonizing effects of the dominant culture, one does not have the necessary tools to pursue the kind of living that recovers social and ecological disruption of places.”  (p. 4).  This quote is of utmost importance to my own embodiment of decolonization.  It is impossible to state how important it is to understand colonization before you can hope to end it.  And colonization is actually incredibly broad.  It is Canada.  The Canada we know, the Canada we live in, is a direct result of colonization.  It is the embodiment of the beliefs and values of white settlers, forced upon all those who dare reside on our divided land.  To call Canada divided is an uncomfortable thought.  We are a country proud of “our unity” but at the same time, we have the land completely divided.  If we are truly stronger together, why have we always acted to keep ourselves a part from our neighbours?

The visual representation I have chosen is a wooden house, a symbol of the first Europeans coming here and making it their home, changing the land to suit their needs, with roads.  The second half of the picture involves the land returning to the way it was, with the only effects of colonization remaining being the torn down wooden house. The faded colouring serves to represent how this idea is still new, and that it is just forming, meaning not many people have quite embraced it yet.

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