In March, 2017, I completed an online course, Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education via EdX and the University of British Columbia. In educational development and in higher education in general, we often hear “I’m not the right one to do this, I don’t know enough”. Aside from a great deal of unlearning and learning throughout the course of the workshop, I was reinvigorated to say “I too have a lot to learn, but it is all of our responsibility”.
In week 1 of the course, an Australian teacher said “I know for sure – reconciliation is everybody’s business”.
I learned so much from Gerry Oleman – he explained that he and other survivors wonder “Why do we have to reconcile?” They didn’t remove themselves from family, community, and land, force religion or language. He said “we need peace between one another”, but that doesn’t make it easy to explain why they need to reconcile.
Now, there are two different perspectives, that of a teacher working with many aboriginal students in Australia, and that of Gerry Oleman, an elder who has worked in social support for indigenous people for many years. Yet I end up in the same place – that settlers like me can’t hide behind not being the right person to reconcile. Who are we expecting to do it for us?