Here are the art pieces I created for socials class, sorry that they are so late!
My theme statement was split into three parts and each part of the theme statement corresponds with a piece in the same order:
I. People are driven by the need for connection and this need for connection drives action.
II. This action can be moral or amoral but humans are inherently altruistic.
III. Understanding the two previous statements is important for me to better understand my actions, the actions of others and relationships between myself and others as well as the relationships of others.
As I don’t want to write a long blog post to explain everything, I have posted some photos of my talking points and notes during my presentation about examples of my theme in learning and in my life, where I think I should improve and where I think I did well this year and some brief explanations of each piece.
Since starting the book, I was interested by the contrast the book created between concepts that would be considered at odds, or even opposites, like life and death, ocean and the forest, light and dark. However, the dichotomy that stood out most to me was that between the urban world and the natural world. I thought that this theme was explored a lot more explicitly in the book from a wider variety of perspectives. I liked that this theme was explored through the perspective of European traders and settlers, First Nations peoples, the logging industry, the British Columbian economy, the environmental impacts, and through the perspective of Grant Hadwin. This theme really stood out to me, as it did to many others, and I was very excited to start this project with this idea in mind.
I wanted to show the dichotomy between the natural world and the urban world. At first, I was unsure about how to do this, but I knew that I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and do something that was artistic, symbolic, and less traditionally analytical. This decision to push my boundaries, and forced me to think for some time about how I could to show my ideas physically. Showing my ideas in a physical medium is not something that I am used to, so it took me a lot of time to figure out how I could show my ideas, and to learn how to properly achieve the techniques I wanted to showcase.
One day Mr. Jackson left an old aerial picture of Coquitlam on the table, and I became very intrigued by it; this photograph gave me some inspiration. I found a few more similar pictures with the help of Mr. Jackson, and decided to use the two photographs as my medium and to show the dichotomy between the natural world and the urban world through those pictures.
I struggled for a long time about how to show the urban world and how to show the natural world, but decided in the end on mediums that I was relatively familiar in working with in other contexts. Yet, it still took me some time to learn how to sew through the picture and how to create textures with paint on the photo paper. However, I am glad that I took my time to learn how to properly do the techniques because I think that they turned out well on the good copies.
The two pieces are meant to go together to show the relationship between the natural and urban world. I will now do a piece by piece explanation of the pictures.
Picture 1: The green paint is meant to represent the nature, and I wanted to show with the paint how powerful the forest can be even when it is tamed, and how different the forest looks in contrast to the surrounding urban development. I tried to create some depth of colour and texture to show that the forest varies a lot where as urban development looks similar across the world. The part of the book when Grant Hadwin begins to get upset about the ways of the logging industry inspired me to do this piece. Looking at the pictures of Coquitlam reminded me how close to home the issue of deforestation is.
Picture 2: I strung yellow string across the second picture where there were urban environments to show how linear and unnatural urban areas look in comparison with the curving land and bodies of water surrounding it. I chose yellow because the Golden Spruce meant a lot to the Haida people, and it symbolized the sacred relationship between nature and humans. I thought that yellow would show the relationship between the urban environment and nature; the urban environment was created on top of the natural environment with materials from the natural environment; the natural environment was used to create the urban environment, but was disregarded afterwards. I also wanted to almost create a cage-like look with the string, to show how the urban environment can imprison the natural potential of an area.
With both images, I really liked that they depicted areas that are familiar to me. It made me think on a deeper level about these themes in the context of my community. I really enjoyed pushing myself during this project to show my ideas in a new way. I really enjoyed doing this project, and I was so happy to see the projects of others! Everyone was so creative, thoughtful, and everyone had such unique ways of expressing their ideas, so good job everyone!
In social studies, we have been reading The Golden Spruce by John Vaillant. This week, we were tasked with the challenge of creating a “blackout” poem using one or two pages from the book. I chose to use pages 8 and 9 because the imagery the author used to describe the forests of the west coast was very striking, and I liked the idea explored on those pages of the forest being a very powerful force. I really liked the language of many of the sentences on the pages I chose, so there were sections that I did not blackout as much because I liked the sentence as a whole. Though this was quite a bit out of my comfort zone, I am glad that I did attempt to write a blackout poem. I know that it is not the best, but I think that I definitely gained a new appreciation for poetry, the book itself, and also some new problem-solving skills. This was a very involved task and I like that this activity encouraged us to synthesize something from a page of the book into poetry. I think that this activity was a lot of fun, and I would like to do more creative activities like this in the future to push my boundaries and see in what new ways I can apply the knowledge I have gained from The Golden Spruce.
Here is the poem that I came up with:
If you cannot read it from the picture, here it is in written format:
The trail of person, the thread of a story,
is easily lost in such a place.
It is not a particularly comfortable place to be,
you can become disoriented.
No future, no past,
Boundaries between life and death,
blur and blend.
everyone wants a piece of the sky,
the feeling that you will be over grown,
by the slow ancient riot around you,
can be suffocating.
The need to see the sun can become overpowering,
you could easily,
if it weren’t for all those,
It rained enough to float an ark,
to support life on a grand scale.
The other part of this activity was to choose a photograph or drawing to go with the poem. Since the first line is about “the trail of a person” I thought back to my time in the mountains, at home, and in Nepal. And the last line about “supporting life on a grand scale” also made me think of this picture as the valleys and mountains were so large and the scale was so grand it made me realize that life can be so large. I thought that a picture of a trail in Nepal would be appropriate and would be a good accompaniment to the poem. This is a picture of the stretch of trail just after Namche Bazaar.
For the past few weeks in social studies, we have thought and talked about our documents of learning. As we began to talk about ideas and Canadian history itself, I realized that I felt weighed down. Our history was something that didn’t make me feel good, I felt like I was responsible for our past wrong-doings, and helpless knowing that there was nothing I could do to change the past. The negative parts of history seemed monumentally larger than the positive parts of history and it reminded me of all the negative events that are going on today. Personally, this is very hard to deal with, and I explore this a little bit in my previous blog post. It is hard for me to look at history with objectivity because of the strong emotions I have around history and the strong emotions that others have around history. It is hard not to be upset knowing that so many minorities were overlooked in confederation. It is hard not to be upset knowing about the lasting effects of residential schools. It is hard not to be upset knowing that the negative parts of history still have a big impact today on so many people across Canada. Its hard to not get upset with so many negative things, seemingly out weighing the good.
It was, in fact, this type of thought process that brought me to an idea for my document of learning. The question that I will be focusing on is:
How can we view Canadian history without getting overwhelmed by the negative parts of history and without ignoring the negative parts of history?
This question is very important to me. I find that it applies to many parts of my life and answering it could help me change my mindset around certain topics. By answering this question, it may also give me some reassurance that there is still a lot of good in the world. Though this is a rather large question, I hope to have a better, more realistic, understanding of Canadian history after answering it. Through this blog post, I hope to make sense of the different perspectives that shaped Canadian history and perhaps develop my own perspective. Throughout this blog post, I hope to connect my question to the following “big idea”: World views lead to different perspectives and ideas about developments in Canadian society.
To help answer my question, I have been looking at my mother’s library of books and researching online with quite a few interesting findings.
How history can be influenced to seem more negative than it may actually be…
I think that first part of my question that I have to tackle is why we tend to focus on the negative so much. In an interview with the New York Times, Dr. Roy F. Baumeister, a professor of social psychology at Florida State University, said:
“Research over and over again shows [the tendency to focus more on the negative than the positive] is a basic and wide-ranging principle of psychology,” he said. “It’s in human nature, and there are even signs of it in animals.”
So now, here you have it, it is completely natural to focus on the negative things. As humans, our brains are wired to focus on the negative so that we can improve and stay out of danger; in fact, the brain even handles positive information and negative information in separate hemispheres of the brain. The following ratio has become accepted in the field of psychology: for every one bad thing that happens five good things are needed to happen to counter balance the first negative event. This ratio along with the fact that we, as humans, tend to focus on the negative, could be a major reason why history is portrayed way it is in the first place.
Sir Winston Churchill said, “History is written by the victors.” And it is true, history is written by those who win, this already greatly changes the way that we look at history today. However, “winning” implies that there was a conflict. In history, we often focus on conflicts, in fact one of the curricular competencies is: Global and regional conflicts have been a powerful force in shaping our contemporary world and identities. Knowing about events that are out of the norm (like conflicts) rather than everyday events is a lot more beneficial as we can learn about how we can avoid those same conflicts in the future and make for more positive outcomes. In social studies this term, we found out that Canadian confederation was rather peaceful compared to the unison of other countries, and I found myself and others in the class looking for the negative parts of confederation. Canadian confederation went pretty smoothly, but because of our urge to find the problem, to learn about how we can solve the problems of today, we searched for the things that should have been approved upon in confederation. When we did our ending role-play in class, a lot of the content poked fun at some of the negative parts of confederation, I think partially because, it is simply more interesting. There is good in looking at conflicts and events that are out of the norm because we can learn so much from them, but focusing on conflicts may also become overwhelming for many people, including me.
How can we stop from getting overwhelmed by the negative parts of history, without ignoring the negative parts of history?
Now that we have explored why we as human focus on the negative, and how history is fundamentally recorded to focus on a lot of negative events, we can talk about how to overcome this. There is no solid answer to this question, everyone deals with things in different ways; however, what I will discuss in the following paragraphs is what I thought was most relevant to me.
One obvious way to overcome feeling overwhelmed by the negative parts of our history is to simply focus on the positive (sounds a little crazy, right?).
“One of the ways of being kind to ourselves is not to let the pain in the world overwhelm us. This is not to say that we need to be indifferent to it; we may feel deep sorrow about it, and the sorrow can help us to cultivate compassion for others as well as for ourselves and motivate us to help and contribute in ways that we can. But getting too far into our own personal distress doesn’t help anyone else, and it doesn’t help us either. There are good people everywhere who are working to make the world a better place and to build trust among all peoples,” – Lynne Henderson, Ph.D
Who has written multiple articles and a book on the topic of compassion focused therapy. This is a simple solution. Focusing on the positive does not mean ignoring the negative, it means that we can look at history keeping both positive and negative events in mind, and in balance (think of five good events for every one bad event). Also, having compassion does not mean that we have to suffer with the people who have been wronged in history, it means that we are “motivated to relieve suffering” using our empathy, according to an article published by Berkeley University. I found this interesting video (mostly on a tangent) but I think that the content about empathy is very relevant to current issues today. Empathy is very important to solving Canadian issues that have come from past wrong doings, like the ongoing struggle for the Canadian government to reconcile with Aboriginals. I have added this video if you are interested to watch it, it may look familiar from a video we watched in planning…
Speaking of compassion and empathy, another way that we can overcome the overwhelming feeling our negative history can bring on, can be to practice meditation. Matthieu Ricard, (who I would have done for my eminent project because he is so cool, but he is bald, which means I would have had to wear some kind of bald cap, and I did not think it would be a good look for me) is known to many as the “happiest man alive”. He was involved in a 12-year long neuroscience study on meditation and compassion.
“Happiness does not come automatically. It is not a gift that good fortune bestows upon us and a reversal of fortune takes back. It depends on us alone. One does not become happy overnight, but with patient labor, day after day. Happiness is constructed, and that requires effort and time. In order to become happy, we have to learn how to change ourselves… Meditation is not just blissing out under a mango tree. It completely changes your brain and therefore changes what you are… The ultimate reason for meditating is to transform ourselves in order to be better able to transform the world…” – Matthieu Ricard
Meditation studies have been shown to enhance the function of the brain and meditation is an important part of the healing process in many mental health illnesses. Meditation is one way we can heal some of traumas of our history together.
I think the last important piece of learning to focus on the positive parts of history without ignoring the hardships, is learning about how to take action.
“When we ally ourselves with the excluded in society, not only are we enabled to see people as people and to join them in their struggle for justice, to work for community and places of belonging, but we also develop the critical tools for seeing what is wrong with our own society… As the human heart opens up and becomes compassionate, we discover our fundamental unity, our common humanity.” -Jean Vanier,
A Canadian Catholic philosopher, theologian and humanitarian who has touched the lives of many around the world with his humanitarian work.I do not think that anyone else could have said it any better. It is important to take action on our positive thoughts, on the wrong-doings of history that can be righted, on our meditations, on our empathy and on our compassion. Taking action on the thoughts and ideas cultivated by thinking optimistically, meditation, being compassionate, and showing empathy is important to do as a community, for others, and for ourselves.
The Best Way I Can Answer the Question… For Now
Learning to think optimistically, cultivating and sharing that positivity, then using that positivity to motivate action is the way that we can view Canadian history without getting overwhelmed by the negative parts of history without ignoring the negative parts of history. In fact, I believe that taking action not just helps us to not ignore the negative parts of history, it may help to repair some of the damage caused by the negative parts of our history. Not just world views, but our personal views, and the action that we take lead to different perspectives and ideas about developments in Canadian society. We are wired to think negatively, and this can affect us greatly; but learning to accept reality as a whole, for better or worse, is a very good way to fight of negative feelings. However, thinking positively does not mean minimizing or ignoring the negative, it is not an either-or perspective, but keeping both perspectives in balance. Though what we learn may seem to be focused on the negative, we can create balance by focusing on the positive.
After this blog post, I hope to continue to look answer this question in my own life more thoroughly and I hope to develop a stronger perspective about Canadian history; I hope that I can cultivate this in the last few months of socials. However, I have learned a lot through this blog post and I am very happy that we had the opportunity to do a document of learning like this. I am looking forward to reading this back at the end of the year to see how my thoughts have changes and to see what I have learned.
The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Anchor
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
Becoming Human by Jean Vanier
Altruism: The Power of Compassion to Change Yourself and the World by Matthieu Ricard
Below is my second confederation blog post, if you have not read my other blog post, then go here to read it. My character is Henrietta Muir Edwards who was a women’s rights activist and reformer. My twitter account for the confederation role play is @Henrietta_Muir.
This blog post was to take place between 1860-1866 leading up to confederation. It is meant to show the aim, obstacle and action of Henrietta at this time. It is also meant to show Henrietta’s predictions and hopes about confederation as well as any “requests” about how confederation should be.
Aujourd’hui est très excitant! Today the Quebec conference has ended, with quite a few interesting results. I was happy that the conference was so close to Montreal, it took place in Quebec City, just up the river. I thought that I might get to see some of the politicians from different parties fighting, but I saw very few politicians here in Montreal, and everyone was really very civil. I found a card the other day with Etienne Cartier’s face and information on it! At first I could not imagine what this card would be used for, but later mother explained that each politician had a deck of cards (“calling cards” she called them) with pictures and information of other politicians so that they could memorize them when talking to each other! To me that sounds pretty funny, but of course those old guys would need a little help with their memories.
I am happy that confederation is in the process of becoming a reality, I think that it will lead to a lot of economic benefits, stability, and a strong central government. Father, who is an avid reader of the news paper, says that the Americans had a whole civil war because their central government was weak. I don’t necessarily think it was weak, but they did give a lot of power to individual states. I hope that confederation does really happen, and that it happens with no blood shed.
However, I don’t think that confederation is enough to make for economic benefits, stability, and a strong central government. French Canadians, First Nations, Inuit, Metis, women, and all minorities of Canada need to be recognized and be given a seat at the table. We need to be given equal rights, and to be treated as equals in society as well as in the eyes of the law. We need to be given the right to speak up, and make a difference in the way confederation plays out. We are just as much Canadians as anyone else, and we all deserve to have the chance to contribute to the confederation of a place we all call home. The legislature that they are creating will affect us as much as it will the law-makers themselves, so I think that it is really important to not over look the rights of minorities while creating the legislature of confederation.
Though I have great hopes for confederation, I do not think that equal rights for all in Canada will be a reality for quite some time. Though this confederation is more civilized than others (the American’s for example) it does not mean that it will include more forward laws. Though there is inclusion of French Canadians in negotiations, not everyone has been given a voice, and this means that the population of Canada will not be equally represented in government. This is a hard reality. There is still a lot of misogyny and racism in our society in this day and age, and there is not a lot I can do as a 15-year-old girl here in Montreal.
I have written several times to the local newspaper in response to some articles, but none of my letters to the editor have been published. I have written in about misconceptions, stereotypes, and falsehoods written in the newspaper about women. My sister sometimes says that it is hopeless to write in to the newspaper about those matters, but I insist on continuing to writing, to continue to try my best to break down the stigma around minorities so that we can have a real voice in confederation and real power to create change.
The Quebec conference is coming to an end today, and though I feel very happy that confederation is becoming a reality, I feel hopeless that there is not a lot I can do so that minorities are represented in the future government in Canada.
I hope to make a difference in the future, I have said for a long time now that when I grow up, I would like to go into politics, but right now, it is a rather un-realistic dream.
We have started role-plays again in social studies this year, this time focusing on the Canadian confederation. I have chosen to be Henrietta Muir Edwards. This role is not as far out of my comfort zone as I would have liked to be; but I am happy that I have a role as a woman as I can better understand her struggles at the time and relate to her on a more personal level. I hope to better understand the evolution of women’s rights by studying and pretending to be Henrietta as well as the evolution of government in Canada through the role play in general. I feel very excited for this year’s role play and I hope to get more involved and embrace the twitter format more. If you want to follow the role play from Henrietta’s perspective, the twitter handle is @Henrietta_Muir.
In the following post I will be writing from Henrietta’s perspective and I will strive to do the following things…
Introduce my character before 1860.
Include date at top (journal entry style).
Explain what my character wants, what is in their way, and what they are doing to over come their obstacles.
Explain hat is going on at the time (conflicts, who they know, where they live, treaties, wars etc.).
18 December 1860
Aujourd’hui il neige, il fait froid cet hiver! Pardon my French, but this winter really has been very cold here in Montreal. Mother has bought me a new coat, not because of the cold, but because it is my birthday. The coat is very warm, it is made of wool and it has three buttons made of wood.
I am turning 11 now, and father has joked about me getting married soon; though I know that it is really not that far off. There are a lot of pressures on women in these modern times. Pressure to get married, and to please others, pressure to remain silent and passive about injustices. It really does frustrate me.
On my birthday, my family and I eat a nice meal together (mother, father, and my sister Amélia). At the table we talk about what happened around the year that I was born (1849) and what is going on this eyar.
The Act of Union took place in 1841. My parents did not like the act, they said that it “assimilated” Francophone culture and society. French was not considered an official language! There were petitions to repeal the Act. The reaction was so intense that London recognized and accepted the use of French in 1848.
This year, 1860, the Americans have begun a civil war to try and become independent from Britain. I understand why they would want to become independent; the Brits are not always the nicest people, after all, they have undermined French culture and the French language for years now. However, I don’t know if a war is the best way to gain independence.
Later in the evening, I secretly stay up with my sister Amélia and we talk about our futures. We say that we may want to create a Working Girls’ Association in Montreal one day to provide meals, reading rooms, and study classes for women. We also dream about publishing a periodical; we would call it The Working Women of Canada. It would be written by women for women. I also want to write books in my life time, about legal problems women must overcome; I would call the first book, Legal Status of Canadian Women and the second book Legal Status of Women in Alberta. My sister and I love to read Le Canadien, but there isn’t always a lot of female authors, or subjects.
We talk about growing up and getting married and having children and moving far away from Montreal as well. I want to marry a doctor, have three children, and move somewhere in the prairies, where there is peace and quite. I want to pursue women’s rights when I’m older, maybe even create a feminist organization of my own or with some friends. I know that its not technically a job, but, I feel like I should follow my passions. Amélia agrees. I think that I may even want to get into politics, really make a change in legislature. Amélia thinks that I am crazy to think that I could be in politics, especially as a woman. But I like to imagine that one day I will not only have the same rights as a man, but also the same respect and status.
There are a lot of things that I hope to accomplish in my life time, I have a lot of passion for women’s rights. I know that there will be a lot of obstacles that will stand in my way; social standards, a misogynistic system and society, the fact that I am a woman and do not have equal rights. I could write on for a long time about that topic. There are a lot of things I will have to overcome but I not only have passion, but I have drive. I have perseverance. I have diligence. Talking to Amélia and my friends about my passions has also helped me realize that I am not alone in the fight for women’s rights, there are many other girls out there, right now, who also want to fight for the same things. We have strength in numbers, and if we work together, we can achieve great things.
I look forward to the future, both the obstacles and the successes.
The introduction to the report by Parks Canada called, Unearthing the Law: Archaeological Legislature on Lands in Canada was a good insight into archaeological evidence that support the fact that people lived in Canada long before European settlers and uses helpful examples to explain these ideas. It uses archaeological evidence (on land) to show that groups of people lived in different areas of North America at different times in history. The goal of this report was to better understand North America’s history as a whole. The report is very comprehensive and well organized; if you are interested in archaeology in its relation to Canadian history, this is a good report to read.
“For at least the first 20 millennia of human occupation in Canada, no written records were kept to describe lives and events. Even after the arrival of writing, records were usually sparse in describing how our ancestors lived. Sometimes, major events were commemorated in oral traditions; but memories often fade, particularly in details of how the vast majority of any given population lived day to day. Nonetheless, Canada still has powerful tools to illuminate its own roots. Archaeological resources are Canada’s archive of its ancient and historic past.”
Here is the link to the introduction of the report: http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/docs/r/pfa-fap/sec1.aspx
To start off the social studies semester, we have been looking at Canadian history; specifically, the history of First Nations, Aboriginal, and Métis in Canada. We have discussed a lot of questions so far including: What is cultural genocide? What are the aspects of cultural genocide? How did Canada commit cultural genocide? Why is cultural transmission valued and why is its disruption so bad? What is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission? What is the Mandate of the TRC? Why is reconciliation important? What are the key components of reconciliation? I have learned a lot about Canada’s dark past, its implications, what we are doing now to right wrongs, and about the difference between the values of the Canadian settlers and the values of the Aboriginal peoples. However, at certain times, I have had a hard time connecting on a personal level to the topics we discussed in class. I have a hard time imagining the country that accepted my family and I with open arms 12 years ago, could have committed such atrocities against Canadian Aboriginals. I find it hard to imagine the version of Canada does not have the same emphasis and values around multiculturalism.
When we began to talk about the culture and the values of both settlers and Aboriginals, I began to understand the thought process and emotions behind their actions. Talking about the backgrounds, beliefs, and especially the culture of the two groups helped me humanize them, and relate to them on a personal level. I began to see the settlers and Aboriginals through the lens of their culture; I began to see how the progress of time has changed their cultures in to what we are familiar with now. Culture gave a context for the actions taken and a clue to the emotions and thoughts behind the actions. I soon found it easier to imagine being a settler or Aboriginal at the time.
One specific concept that really helped me connect with Canadian history on a personal level, and learn lessons that I could apply to my own life, was cultural transmission.
“[Cultural transmission] is the process of learning new information through socialization and engagement with those around you. The cultural transmission of knowledge is a broad concept, and it refers to knowledge that is gained through non-biological means; the theoretical basis of cultural transmission is that throughout our development, we acquire a considerable amount of knowledge simply by being present in our culture.” (White, 2011).
Cultural transmission is something that I value a lot, and something that is valued greatly by my family. A large part of cultural genocide is the disruption of cultural transmission, and seeing how important cultural transmission is to me, I could only imagine how bad the results of disrupting cultural transmission are.
Questions, Perspectives, and Goals
For our first blog post, we are supposed to answer a question, I have decided to explore: Why is cultural transmission valued and why is its disruption so bad?
To answer why cultural transmission should be valued and why its disruption is so bad, I will be looking at this question through the lens of development and attachment from a young age. I chose this perspective because it relates the topic directly to me as I am still developing, forming attachments, and learning about my culture. I also chose this lens because my mum always told me that attachment is the basis for all relationships. By understanding attachment, and how it is developed, I can better understand other relationships as well; for example, how the relationship between the Canadian government and the Aboriginal people has developed over time.
Through this blog post, I would like to better understand myself, the people around me, and the people I read about from history. I strive to learn the importance and value of culture to different people as well as how to respect other cultures. I would like to learn the importance of having cultural diversity, and the importance of developing an identity as a person, as a culture, and as a country. However, I think that my biggest goal is to learn to understand the multiplicity of history.
Impact of Healthy Cultural Transmission on a Developing Young Person
A lot of the information that we receive daily is through cultural transmission, even if we may not know it. The reason we understand what is socially acceptable, what social cues mean, body language, and other concepts that vary based on culture is because of cultural transmission. For example, no one told me that I have to tip when I go to a restaurant, but because that is what is expected from this culture, I do so by following the examples of friends and family.
Cultural transmission is important for young people to develop a healthy sense of self, and to become well adjusted. “The self develops within a culture, and the beliefs and practices of the culture are absorbed into the individual’s psychology,” (Baron, 2005). Better understanding the people around us, the world around us, and how it all works can help young people better understand themselves and how they fit into the context of their world.
Cultural transmission can create a safe sense of community for the people who are a part of the culture and can help young people to become more open-minded and accepting of others. “As individuals’ psychology is built [through cultural transmission] their behaviour and thinking allow them to live comfortable within the culture and to communicate more easily with others [from other cultures and their own],” (Baron, 2005). As people become more comfortable within their own culture (and with themselves) they can become more accepting of others and more willing to step out of their comfort zone as they continue to have a safe space within their culture.
Cultural transmission through a strong support system can aid in healthy physical, mental, and emotional development. “Secure attachments with [culture] have been linked to later social and cognitive competence… Children who have positive relationships with [their culture] are more likely to engage in the kinds of interactions that foster the language skills and other competencies required to succeed in school,” (Vasta, 2009).
Cultural transmission passes on traditions from generation to generation; installing the importance of cultural transmission itself. Oral story-telling traditions are very important to Aboriginal culture and this practice passes on the stories of band history to younger generations. The history of bands has been traditionally passed on orally for many years, with many stories still known today.
Impact of Cultural Oppression and Genocide on a Developing Young Person
Cultural oppression can result in isolation, little sense of self, little sense of community, difficulties in social adjustment, mental health issues, addictions, and devalued perceptions of culture. However, the biggest impact is that people may come to struggle with sense of identity and may be ashamed of their own culture (when their culture is perceived as less than by popular culture). The oppression of one generation continues to be passed down for many to come; parents who are cut off from their own culture may have attachment issues, when they raise their own children they pass on the same attachment issues they struggle with indirectly to the child. This can continue on for many generations and is why reconciliation for wronged ancestors is also very important, though it may be overlooked. Self –worth, support systems and the meaning that we give to life is very important, when these concepts are not explored within individuals and cultures, or views are forced onto people, it can lead to severe mental health and addiction issues as a coping method. Though Aboriginal culture experienced genocide, it is still alive today. “Aboriginal, First Nations, and Métis populations had to endure extermination and assimilation efforts and were able to do so because of cultural values and strengths such as spirituality; respect for traditional values and ceremonies; extended family networks; allegiance to the family, community, and tribe; wisdom of the elders’ respect for the environment and the land; connection to the past, adaptability, and the promotion of such themes as belonging, mastery, independence and generosity.” (Myers & Spencer, 2004).
So What? What Now?
Understanding the role of cultural transmission throughout history is important to understanding how cultural influences and biases shape our narratives about history today. Identifying the impacts of cultural transmission helps to put the importance of culture in perspective. Looking at cultural transmission through the lens of development and attachment has helped me better relate to the narrative of Aboriginal oppression in Canada on a more personal level. I think that through this blog post, I have come to appreciate my own Romanian and Canadian culture more as well as have come to realize my Eurocentric (ethnocentric) bias. I have come to have more appreciation for the cultures that have undergone oppression and genocide but were revived and continue to live on today. I have come to learn more about the importance of developing identities as individuals, cultures, and as a country. Through the research I have done for this blog post, I have come to appreciate the multiplicity of history, and can see how patterns easily repeat themselves. This research has challenged me to look at the identity of Canada in a different way. Canadian identity and values have changed a lot over time; today we are known as an inclusive multicultural society, but we were not always that way as I have learned from social studies these past few weeks.
Baron, R. A. (2005) Exploring Social Psychology (4th Edition) Pearson. Toronto, ON
Myers, D. G. & Spencer, S. J. (2004) Social Psychology (2nd Edition) McGraw-Hill Ryerson Toronto, ON
Vasta, R. (2009) Child Psychology (2nd Edition) John Wiley & Sons Mississauga, ON
I have listed all of my sources below. I find that this year I researched a lot more in-depth and it was really helpful to understanding my person. I really enjoyed the documentary and book. If anyone wants to know more about Ai Weiwei, watching the documentary is really fun, even if you just want to know more about political issues. It was difficult to find information on Ai himself as he is still a rather current person, but the Wikipedia page was surprisingly helpful, it was the biography listed by his official website. I had a great time researching and probably spent a bit too much time researching, but I really enjoyed it.
First of all, I wanted to congratulate everyone on Night of the Notables! Everyone did so well with speeches and learning centers, it feels like every year the bar is raised! The night itself was also set up so well, so thank you to the nines for organizing it! Everyone should be very proud of their individual work and the work that we did together as a group. I want to give a special thanks to all the TALONS teachers who guided us and made NotN a reality. It was all of that work that made Night of the Notables such a success this year.
This is my final Eminent post and though I feel sad, I also feel very relieved that I can now reflect back on speeches, learning center, and the overall flow of the night without having to begin thinking about next years’ eminent project.
I feel very good about how my speech went, though it was not the best run through, it wasn’t the worst either. I feel very grateful that I remembered all of my lines. I think that my content was very relevant to my person and showed how he made an impact in his field. By explaining his road to jail I showed his eminence but by doing the speech as if Ai were talking to his son it made the speech more personal and relatable. I think that my presentation of the speech went well, I tried to use my nervous energy and turn it into anger as my speech was very heated. Anger is not an emotion I exhibit a lot so it was interesting to try show that through my speech. Though there were a few moments where I hesitated, I think it was okay over all. This year we did transitions between speeches and I really liked that. I thought that the speeches flowed much better, showed a story, and kept everyone more engaged. I think that all of the speeches were very well done and everyone had a lot of confidence on stage. Speeches were my favourite part of the night because I really enjoyed watching everyone and encouraging people backstage.
Learning centers were pretty fun, but it was the hardest part of the night for me because I had to talk to people in an unstructured way. However, I think that having the interactive component really helped. I had made my learning center to look like Ai Weiwei’s studio with paint, cut outs, and art strewn about. I laid down canvas and sheets everywhere to make sure that nothing got dirty. I pre-painted vases from value village white and I asked people to help me paint them with colours. This was supposed to represent Ai Weiwei’s ongoing piece where he would paint and destroy Han Dynasty urns to show that sometimes we have to disregard tradition to make way for new ideas. I think that this component of my learning center was successful. Many people young and old came to my station and painted their urns, some people even took their master pieces’ home! However, I did struggle to stay in character the whole night, it was hard to talk about my person from his perspective and still remain somewhat objective about his hardships. I think that all of the learning centers were really great this year and I think that they flowed really well, I liked that all the artists were together in a corner. It was especially cool because some of our eminent people knew each other and had visited each others studios and exhibitions. I think that looking at all the learning centers just before they were all taken down was a lot of fun. Though I missed out on the interactive components of most learning centers, I am very happy that I got to see them.
The overall flow of the night was very good. I think that the fact that the speeches had transitions and that some learning centers were organized by theme made for a more integrated experience. The set up of the event was very quick and we all had plenty of time to set up learning centers, look at each others learning centers and practice our speeches on the main stage. We also had enough time backstage before the speeches started for a quick pep talk which was very nice. The cleanup was not as smooth as it could have been. We mostly began cleaning after the first announcement and though we were all quick in taking down our learning centers, not everyone did their designated cleanup jobs and we ran out of recycling/ garbage space. However, we were still pretty fast with cleanup managing to finish before 10:30. The circle that we had at the end was very nice and I liked that a grade nine and a grade ten counted down to the shooting stars. It was a strong note to end of on.
The closing circle was a really nice way to wrap up a long day and the last Night of the Notables I would ever have to present at. Though I was a little bit sad that it was the beginning of the end of our journey through TALONS, I was mostly relieved that I wouldn’t have to go through the same stress again next year. I feel very satisfied with how Night of the Notables ended up this year, I think that it was very successful in the speeches, the learning centers, and the flow of the night. NotN made me feel happy and excited and sad and relieved all at once, and I am very glad that I had this experience with all of you!
Congratulations to all of the grade tens who have finished their last eminent project, good luck to the grade nines on their projects next year, and thank you to everyone who supported the TALONS learners in this time of stress, especially Ms. Mulder, Mr. Salisbury, Ms. Dingle, and Mr. Jackson!