Last week, I became aware of a course through the University of Alberta called Indigenous Canada. It is a course that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada, and you can audit it for free!

Something that not a lot of people know about me, is that I have an Indigenous background and have my Certificate of Indian Status.

I don’t talk about it a lot, full disclosure. But I guess I err on the private anyways (About Me). Our Native history wasn’t a big part of my growing up, other than my Grandma baking bannock and tales about her growing up as a Native woman in Northern BC. And I haven’t seen a lot of stories like mine out there either. How does a grown woman shift what she knows about herself to learn about the history of her family and other people, with respect and innocent intentions?

I’m learning.

And that’s where this course comes in.

Sunset over Playground on Sandy Ground - Port Moody, BC

Over the last couple of years, I have come into contact with an extended family member that lives quite close to where we are in Port Moody. Technically, I believe that she is my second cousin and I’m thankful that we’ve grown closer since we were first in contact.

Funny story, the first time I went to visit her family—I believe it was in June of 2019—maniac Maverick struck big time and nearly ruined their hardwood floors. Of the house they had just renovated I might add. Brad was away on a camping trip, and I took the kids to her house to visit. After dinner, Maverick found the cats’ water dish and upended it across the floor. The water went everywhere, including underneath a bookshelf that was lying flat on the floor. Her husband had to prop the shelf up so that the water didn’t soak in between the floorboards and the shelf. It was a nightmare. They were so nice about it! And I appreciated that so much.

It's amazing how people can come into your life, right when you need them.

When we were chatting last week, Rowena told me about this course and we decided to take it together. It turns out that another friend of mine is taking it as well, and I am excited to learn about the history of Indigenous Canadians together with both of them. I’m so grateful that Rowena has come into my life and opened me up to taking this course with her. She has enriched my life in so many ways, I can't wait to explore our families getting to know each other when this whole pandemic is over!

I think I may have a little addiction to learning … did I mention that I have another course in mind to further my career in writing? I think it’s going to best when Maverick is in school next year (NEXT YEAR!!) but we’ll see how things go this fall. The course has classes available to do one at a time before you commit to the full thing, which might be a great option for me.

Alright, back to the Faculty of Native Studies Indigenous Canada course, if you’re interested, read on.

  • The fur trade and other exchange relationships;
  • Land claims and environmental impacts;
  • Legal systems and rights;
  • Political conflicts and alliances;
  • Indigenous political activism; and
  • Contemporary Indigenous life, art and its expressions.

I feel like we touched on some of these topics in high school, but let’s face it. That was over twenty years ago for me. I could definitely use a refresher. I’ll keep you posted on how the course goes/is going; I am hopeful that I’ll feel inspired. The most hope I hold is that I feel more comfortable in sharing who I am and my family’s history and background. Especially for my kids.

Open to learning,

Anya

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