Interesting Windspeaker article on teaching and curriculum

September 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

I found an interesting article “Relevance should be teachers’ goal” on Windspeaker (Volume 18, Issue 3, 2000.) Page 4.  The author is E. Fredua-Kwarteng, Cape Dorset, Nunavut.

I like the curriculum this author proposes as “a suggestion for reflection.” I absolutely agree that teaching should “address issues relevant to students”, and that means the process of curriculum design has to be iterative.

The points raised in this article would make very interesting discussion topics, and not just for educators at Native schools.

Here’s one I’d love to put out as a point (ok several points) for discussion with anyone in Canada who is interested and see where we take it.  This point is one of several the author suggests educators should think critically about in Nunavut, “where about 90 per cent of senior secondary students are Inuit”

  • The supremacy of the community in relation to the individual. The community as a potent force in character formation as compared to biological influences. Values and principles such as sharing, co-operation, altruism, communalism, nonviolence, nonconfrontation, consultation, consensus.

I’d love to discuss ideas about where and how these concepts are actively “taught” and other options for “teaching” them and evolving our thinking about them.



Mark your calendars! Sunday is the 54th International Day of Nonviolence

September 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

The UN declared Oct 2nd as the International Day of Nonviolence.

See also

Nonviolence in Canadian Communities of Aboriginal Peoples

September 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

I am taking a step back to better understand what is being done to teach nonviolence amongst Canadian Aboriginal Peoples.

If you are aware of specific Canadian sources (preferably written by Aboriginal Peoples) on nonviolence concepts or training, please let me know.

“Black Elk Speaks” has been recommended to me.  I am going to read it.

Ovide Mercredi seems to have advocated nonviolence for the purpose of social change, but I’m curious to know whether he has ever provided any training in nonviolence in Canada and if he did, what form it took. I see he has spoken with others on the importance of dialogue: Building Community through Dialogue (2008 Circle Alberta Gathering)  I will check out his book In the Rapids – Navigating the Future of First Nations.

I will also check out the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network website

… as well as the First Nations Drum ( and Windspeaker (

Things that strengthen humanity

September 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Here are some things that strengthen my connections with the people around me (although I can see that some of this may vary across cultures):

  • Making eye contact with others I pass on the street, on the bus, on the bike path, at work and smiling. Reinforces that we both exist to each other. 🙂
  • Stopping to let someone go in front of me when we converge at the same point. Or when someone stops to let me go first.
  • Stopping to talk to someone whom I may or may not know. Responding to someone who engages me.
  • Being aware of and engaging with the people around me – noticing, reacting, commenting.
  • Trying to see the world through the eyes of whomever I am engaging with, without judging.  The view is different.

I notice the faster I am going through life, the less likely I am to do these things.

So any time I see a rose, I try to stop and smell it.  There were a lot of roses in my neighbourhood this summer, and some still linger. 🙂

What diminishes our humanity?

September 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’ve been thinking about the things that happen to me and that I do in my day-to-day life that diminish my humanity.  That enable me to de-humanize others, and treat others differently from how I want to be treated; to treat others unfairly.

If I am aware of the behaviours and actions that diminish my humanity, I can actively work to NOT do them, and not accept them when they are done to me.  I can focus on doing the opposite behaviours and actions – the ones that strengthen my humanity. This week I will try to blog examples of both (actions that diminish humanity and actions that strengthen humanity) from what I see around me, or even that I do (yikes)…

People are capable of change

September 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

There is a saying that the only constant is change.

One tenet in nonviolence is the belief that people are capable of change for the better. Everyone. No matter who they are or what they have done.

I know I could benefit from moral support along the way.  In the sense of encouragement.  In the sense of support in the belief that I can change.  And more.  Because I have found that once I am aware of something I am doing that I want to change, I am already half the way towards making that change. I propose that the more aware I am of the moral quality to the decisions in front of me at any given time (in what I think, say, do, …), the more likely I am to proceed in a way that is consistent with my morals.

I can change for the better, or for the worse. But it really helps me to be aware of the choices I tend to make implicitly.  And to consciously turn them into explicit choices.

Every one of us is capable of change for the better.

Transcend Peace University – online courses start September 26th

September 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

The next round of online courses at Transcend Peace University start on September 26th.

I took a 5-day workshop on Nonviolence with Jorgen Johansen several years ago in Romania (it was sponsored by both TRANSCEND and PATRIR) and can recommend his course.

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