Last weekend I wrapped up a terrific MOOC offered by the University of Alberta: Indigenous Canada. It's all about the history of the native people of that northern part of North America as told by descendants of those people. I'm not Canadian, but this was the only course of its kind I could find. That may be because, as I recently learned, UofA has the ONLY faculty of native studies on the continent. That's right. No other institution of higher learning as a group of scholars teaching and researching the people who were here first.
The class is a painful ride through centuries of settler/colonist oppression and exploitation, and it tells a story largely omitted from or completely misrepresented in history books. It's also incredibly informative from a purely intellectual point of view. I enjoyed learning more about the cultures and customs of different nations and tribes.
When we talk about anti-racism, we must include Indigenous people. They, along with Black people, have been treated unjustly and violently by white people, for hundreds of years. We cannot do the work of restoring justice without including native people in our work.
I invite you to enroll in this excellent 12-unit class. The time commitment is minimal and the impact and insight are tremendous. I also encourage you to join me (and Dan Levy of Schitt's Creek fame), in donating to the UofA Faculty of Native Studies Fund. Mr. Levy is matching gifts up to $25,000, so if you make your gift in his honor, you double your impact.
Learning about the origins and impact of white supremacy is vital to white-bodied people's ability to confront their own roles (passive or active) in supporting the dominant culture and righting centuries of wrongs. Enrolling in classes like Indigenous Canada and Dismantling Racism (mentioned last week) shows your commitment to accountability and fairness. It's the right thing for you personally and for your business.
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3 more articles on anti-racism and corporate social justice:
- Investing in anti-racism: Dismantling Racism with Michelle C. Johnson
- Corporate social justice: The Word Factory
- Anti-racism resources for businesses