Identifying and working through settler ignorance
As Canadian education systems implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, various expressions of white settler resistance become amplified. This article examines the potential for settler-educators’ stories to teach about processes for working through settler ignorance. Insight into the question of how to transform settler subjectivities and relationships with Indigenous peoples cuts across theoretical terrain in three fields: decolonizing education, epistemic ignorance, and affect/felt theory. We engage with these currents to analyze settler resistance through nIshnabek de’bwe wIn, a project aimed at transforming relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students and teachers through collaborative storytelling. We report on one project facet that brought Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers, educators, and students together to create digital/multimedia stories about experiences of schooling that could inform settler-educator learning by offering critical insight into unlearning ignorance as one strategy (among many) for decolonizing colonial structures of schools. Attention to settler stories reveals a triadic relationship between power/knowledge/affect wherein these forces are inextricably entangled in ways that create and reinforce the epistemological knot of settler ignorance and resistance. The emotional work storytellers undertook as part of their embodied learning offers insight into the promise of creative pedagogies for untying that knot.