From March 3rd to 5th the CODE Management Board held our annual retreat in order to plan for the activities of the coming year, including the CODE Conference. One important priority this year is decolonizing our practice, updating, reflecting on and redefining our Equity lens. This year’s retreat was instrumental in furthering the new relationship between CODE and the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education Association of Ontario (FNMIEAO). The retreat was held on the territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit, all hosted by Nancy Rowe at Akinomaagaye Gaamik: House of Learning. Read on to learn about this incredible experience!
The Board participated in a number of transformational educational activities in addition to holding the March meeting. Those activities included Sweat lodge and teachings from Nancy Rowe, a presentation by Colinda Clyne (Co-Chair) and Jodi Williams (Past Co-Chair) of FNMIEAO including the KAIROS Blanket Exercise, as well as hearing Residential School Survivor Geronimo Henry speak about his experiences and the experiences of others at the Mohawk Institute Residential School. The board also learned from Ray John Jr.’s teachings on Decolonizing the Spirit and the path to healing, mural teachings on culture and history from Pet Schuyler and Big Drum and Anishinabek language teachings from James Shawana.
The retreat was a next step in CODE’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. As a council we learnt about the importance of privileging Indigenous voices, establishing ongoing relationships with the local Indigenous nations whose territory on which each of our schools is located, asking questions and seeking guidance from elders, and focusing our teaching on the issues facing Indigenous peoples as a result of colonization instead of their cultures. These are teachings which we hope to make accessible to all CODE Members by inviting First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people to be partners in our development of this year’s CODE Conference, Claiming Our Voices, taking place October 13-15, 2017 at Deerhurst Resort. Some of these teachings are also available through resources hosted here on the CODE website, and we encourage members to stay tuned for more updates and events by following CODE and FNMIEAO on Facebook and becoming a member (it’s free!) https://fnmieao.com/