My first exposure to First Nation’s ceremonies was last year in an education class. Just as I appreciated the opportunity to participate in a pipe ceremony and a feast than, I was glad I had another chance to experience the pipe ceremony on September 21. I find attending a First Nations ceremony allows me to become more involved and “in the know” with a culture that has experienced (and still is experiencing) extremely unfortunate circumstances. As a future educator, I am required to teach about treaty education, and I believe a element of that comes from the passion behind the subject. I see opportunities and experiences like this as very valuable component to my education in that it allows me to gain that passion and realize, first hand, the importance of treaty education.
Watching Noel conduct the ceremony was intriguing. The pipe ceremony I went to last year was conducted by a different elder, and so it was interesting to see the differences and similarities in the way the pipe ceremony was done. Some protocols were the same (women wear long skirts, move clockwise, and women sitting in a different place than men) but some were different. As oppose to women on their time sitting on the outer circle in the previous pipe ceremony I went to, sage was used to rub on the body. The general message about this observation is the importance of the diversity of elders and protocols within this culture. Though I do not understand every aspect of these ceremonies, I am becoming more and more aware of them by participation just like this. I believe that when we do not understand something, sometimes it can be hard to relate to, be interested in, and accept. I stated earlier that it is important to be exposed to other cultures, and becoming more aware is definitely a stepping stone in breaking down that barrier of any misconceptions resulting in a more open minded perspective.
With everything that I participate in through my education, I like to think of the teaching implication(s) it carries. How can I apply this to my life as a future educator? I kind of already addressed how it creates passion for something we teach (Treaty Ed.), but in addition, it allows me to challenge dominate discourses around me. As teachers, it is so easy to teach from these discourses, but if I am being exposed and participating in a way of knowing that is unlike a euro-western worldview (concept of time, schedules, stories) I can bring those experiences into my classroom as means of appreciation, not just tolerance.