Lessons In the Real World

Suzanne  -  Oct 20, 2016  -  , , , , , , ,  - 

adult2piecesassyntvamericancostume_washingtoncitypaperHere we are, Halloween time again – and retail stores are once again trading in racism and appropriation by selling Halloween costumes that allow people to dress up like “Indians.”

However, as we saw with this fall’s national conversation about the Cleveland Indians name and logo, the tide is beginning to shift, as non-Indigenous allies begin to create change alongside the Indigenous peoples who have been raising this issue for decades.

At Davisville Junior Public School in Toronto, one teacher is taking the opportunity to bring the issue of Halloween costumes into the classroom. In a classroom conversation that he expects will last all year long, French immersion teacher Denis Bell has asked his Grade 6 students to share their thoughts on Indigenous-themed Halloween costumes – and how they might help inform others about the issues raised by these costumes. This kind of real-world lesson is the best kind of teaching, because when students are engaged in their communities, they are engaged in meaningful learning – learning that shows them that they have the power to become agents of social change.

Click here to read the CBC story on Bell’s lesson, and what his students have to say about the issue.

And click here to check out Dragonfly’s last post on Halloween costumes, which frames the Halloween costume phenomenon as part of a complex web of racialization, power, and story.

Happy Halloween. Does anyone know how to dress up as an ally?