When was the Iroquois Confederacy?

Dating the Iroquois Confederacy (Bruce E. Johansen) was an article on the Confederacy that I found to be quite interesting.  The piece discusses how researchers Barbara Mann and Jerry Fields came to the conclusion that the Confederacy took place in 1142 AD.  They used a set of different perspectives and facts to oppose the common belief that said the Iroquois Confederacy came to be in 1451.  Unlike most other scholars, Mann and Fields took into consideration documents, eclipse data, and Iroquois oral accounts.

“Mann and Fields believe that scholars who argue the later dates dismiss the Iroquois oral history as well as solar-eclipse of data. Since such scholars use only documentary sources with dates on them, and since such documents have been left to use only by non-Indians, the Native American perspective is screened out of history, they argue. “It is capricious, and most probably racial, of scholars to continue dismissing the [Iroquois] Keepers [oral historians] as incompetent witnesses on their own behalf,” Mann and Fields argue in their paper.”

I was quite satisfied to know that the dating of the confederacy was eventually determined using a variety of sources that included the Iroquois oral history.  Now, I only wish that more researchers of history topics did the same with other Aboriginal accounts.

To read the full article, click here!

Mentorship,

*Note: This post will discuss some of Ms. Mulder’s topics from both post #2 and #3.  From post #2: agreement, disagreement, opinions.  From post #3: share a story, support a point.*

I finally met with my mentor!!!  The days leading up to my first meeting were simultaneously exciting and nerve-wracking.  Of course I was excited to get a real “start” on my in-depth, but meeting a new person always makes me anxious.  Especially if that person is a complete stranger who I’ll need to spend over an hour with.  On Saturday morning, with my eyes still half-shut, my mom and I drove down to New West to meet with my mentor, Sandi, for the first time.  If I wasn’t so tired from the Talent Show the night before, my stress levels would have been unbearable.  We arrived to Sandi’s place quite early, so we drove around a bit before I actually had the will-power to approach the door.  (Hey, did you know that New West has a very nice 7-Eleven?  They have a full hot dog toppings bar and everything!)

About five minutes before our scheduled start time, my legs were shaking as I walked up to the door to knock.  However, when the door opened to a pleasant smile, I quickly relaxed.  Sandi made me feel super comfortable as soon as she said hello.  When we went into her house, she led me to the space where she does her clients’ nails.  Prior to our meeting, Sandi pulled out some supplies that she thought may be helpful for our lesson.  We started off the meeting with me explaining the In-Depth project in more detail.  I talked about what the project includes, why I was interested in nail art, and my hopes for the end product.  During this discussion, I chose to include some personal stories about my In-Depth project last year.  I thought that by including these experiences I would not only make the discussion more interesting (as De Bono talks about), but it would also help to clarify what In-Depth is all about.  After explaining the project, I think Sandi had a much better idea of what I want to achieve by the end of five months.  I can already tell that we both have the same vision of the future as she very clearly kept this in mind throughout the rest of the lesson.  For example, she continuously brought up ideas for my In-Depth night station during our discussions.

The first big topics we went through on Saturday were nail supplies and clean up.  Sandi started by showing me her nail station set up.  She keeps all of her must-haves (polish remover, cotton swabs, and basic tools like clippers) on the table, while everything else is stored in cupboards or on shelves nearby.  When I asked her which of the tools I’ll need to get right away, she suggested I stock up on the following:

  • Good base & top coats
  • Clippers
  • Nail file
  • Something to push back cuticles (She suggested either getting a metal tool or orange wood sticks.  Based on prior research, I have decided to go ahead with using the orange wood sticks as they are safer on the nail.)
  • Makeup brushes & sponges
  • 99% alcohol
  • Dotter
Image result for nail tools

Image via Nail It Mag

We also discussed the other supplies that I will experiment with during our sessions together such as glitter, paint, and stamps.

During this time, we also talked about sanitation as it is very important, but often not talked about.  To support this point, I mentioned to Sandi that often when I go to salons, I get concerned about their cleaning practices.  After sharing this feeling, she told me that when she has new clients, she always explains her sanitary procedures to them.  She said that this makes them feel much more comfortable and suggested that I also explain my cleaning procedures during In-Depth night when I do my demonstrations.  We went through a couple different cleaning products that she uses, but for the purposes of my project, we agreed that 99% alcohol may be the most practical choice.

After going through some more cleaning procedures, we moved onto discussions about nail art.  We talked about more nail art supplies and what everything is used for.  When I saw how steady Sandi’s hands were with all the materials, I asked her what technique she uses to keep her hands so stable.  She showed me that she anchors her hand with her pinky to keep it from shaking.  I am definitely going to try this technique the next time I practice on myself.

We also took a look online at a few different nail designs and how different types of polish are more practical for different designs.  One video we watched together showed an artist cutting acrylic paint off of his clients nails to get straight lines.  Sandi explained to me that certain patterns, like stripes, may be more achievable using certain polishes.  When I asked her to clarify if it was possible to get straight lines any other ways, she told me that hand drawing, using tape, and using stripers are all options, but the results may not be the best. Instead, she suggested that I use nail stamps for stripes.  This wasn’t the most thrilling answer for me as my goal is to learn nail art by hand, not only using a stamp.  However, I did not want to disagree with Sandi because her point was valid.  I honestly think she’s right that stamps are probably my best bet in getting straight lines, it’s just that I want to learn to go above that.  Like De Bono suggested, I didn’t want to disagree for the sake of it.  Instead, I listened to Sandi and understood where she was coming from in this suggestion.  Lucky for me, Sandi later vocalized that just because stamps will be the easiest choice, we don’t need to forget about everything else.  She let me know that in the coming weeks we can work on creating stripes using various methods.

To end off our meeting, Sandi let me play around with stamps and dotters on her nails.  She showed me how to create simple designs using the dotters and the proper technique to use for stamps.  Before I left, we scheduled our next meeting and Sandi gave me homework to start supply shopping as well as look up some nail designs that I would like to try out in the coming weeks.

As you can tell, a lot happened during our first meeting and I am very happy with how everything went.  To end off my blog post this week, I have included some photos of the nail art I tried out prior to my first meeting with my mentor.  These pictures will serve as a “baseline” of sorts that I can look back on at the end of In-Depth this year.

Photo

 

Apologies vs Actions

Somehow we are back in Social Studies, and honestly, it felt like we just finished Socials 9 yesterday.  I am particularly excited to begin Socials this year because we are taking the time to learn all about Canada.  Yes, learning about history in Europe can be interesting and is definitely important, but it doesn’t really hit close to home.  Whereas, learning about Canada, the place I actually live, feels very personally relevant.

While quite a heavy topic, residential schools and reconciliation are definitely an interesting way to start off this year’s Social Studies journey.  The topics line up very well with our interest in learning about the “dark side” of Canada.

Background

It is estimated that about 150,000 aboriginal, Inuit and Métis children were removed from their communities and forced to attend residential schools.

Image via CBC News

Myself, OliviaRachael, and Weijin are covering the broad question “What are the key components of reconciliation?”.  Be sure to check out their blogs to read about other topics regarding the process.

Personally, I have decided to look into the following specific question in regards to the reconciliation process:

  • What is the right balance between apologies and actions?

I was really interested in this question as I think it is one of the biggest components in the reconciliation process.  After willingness and trust is made between groups, the actual process of reconciliation begins.  The question is, what exactly needs to happen during this time?  Sure, an apology feels good, but does it really fix anything?  And yeah, it might be nice to be given some extra cash as a way to say “sorry”, but how does that help the emotional trauma?  Through my research, I want to get more insight into which apologies and actions need to take place for reconciliation to be successful.

Research

Apologies

All of the above CBC articles address the point of apologies.  Specifically, Stephen Harper’s official 2008 apology to former students of residential schools.

“The treatment of children in Indian residential schools is a sad chapter in our history.

“Today, we recognize that this policy of assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country,”

Image via The Globe And Mail

Harper’s apology came after many people demanded a sincere, heartfelt apology by a prime minister.  Although Harper and many other officials’ apologies included depth on the issue, it’s hard not to wonder “did they just do this because they had to?”  Controversy and questions like this have come up in regards to apologies with the church.  While some churches, such as the Anglican Church of Canada, provided heartfelt apologies, others did not satisfy the Aboriginal community.  For example, CBC reported that “Pope Benedict XVI expressed his “sorrow” to a delegation from Canada’s Assembly of First Nations for the abuse and “deplorable” treatment that aboriginal students suffered at Roman Catholic Church-run residential schools.”  At the time of this statement, Phil Fontaine of the Assembly of First Nations did not accept the words as an apology.  They were more of way to just “close the book”.

This all makes me wonder “how much does an apology really mean?”.  If the Aboriginal people have been pushing for an apology for years and they finally receive one years later, how do we know if the words spoken are truly sincere?  In the Herald News’ “A Selection Of Quotes From Aboriginal Leaders, Residential School Survivors”, Helen Cromarty, a survivor, says

“There are many missing things that I can never ever get back, but having the government apologize and acknowledge the damage that has been done, I feel a little reprieve. I can live with it and I think that’s another step forward. Why not keep going?  The path is there now, follow it.”

I really like this quote because it brings up a good point.  When the government and church apologize for what they have done, there is a slight chance that they may make those who they have hurt feel a little bit better.  Although mostly, it just makes themselves feel better.  I think apologizing is more of a way to take the weight off your own shoulders, thinking that the word “sorry” is going to fix everything.  However, this is untrue.  You need to prove your apology by demonstrating the proper actions to make your apology real.

Actions

But which actions are the right actions?  I found the first two CBC articles quite interesting as they address past attempts of “reconciliation”.  A couple years back, the way that the government and church chose to show apologies was through compensation packages.  These packages provided residential school survivors money in order to repay their bad experiences.  Former students were to receive $10,000 for their first year at school and an additional $3,000 for all the further years they attended.  According to CBC News, “as of Sept. 30, 2013, $1.6 billion had been paid, representing 105,548 cases.”  This compensation package also included a promise for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which was officially established in 2008.

Here’s the thing; money is great.  I’m not going to deny that.  However, for the government to use money as their first big attempt to reconcile is ridiculous.  Money is not a real apology for all that Indigenous people have endured.  Money is not going to simply fix the trauma residential school students face.  Money is not going to bring back the childhood of Aboriginal kids who were taken away.  Why could the government and church not have gotten together to initially discuss the mental well-being of former students?  Why go straight to money?  Is it because it’s the easy choice?  What was the point of wasting time distributing cash as a first action when really, it does not help fix the problem?

In the residential school situation, we really need to look to the Aboriginal people to understand what they see as reasonable actions to prove apologies.  It is their values that we need to accommodate.  The TRC Mandate goals include:

(a) Acknowledge Residential School experiences, impacts and consequences;

(b) Provide a holistic, culturally appropriate and safe setting for former students, their families and communities as they come forward to the Commission;

(c) Witness, support, promote and facilitate truth and reconciliation events at both the national and community levels;

(d) Promote awareness and public education of Canadians about the IRS system and its impacts;

(e) Identify sources and create as complete an historical record as possible of the IRS system and legacy. The record shall be preserved and made accessible to the public for future study and use;

Now, these goals are all good and swell, but how much do they mean if not everyone is partaking?  Just one person refusing to demonstrate these respectful practices will stunt the whole reconciliation process.  What the mandate is asking for is reasonable for Canadians to participate in, so why don’t we?  It is important that Canadians work together as a collective to truly make a big impact and fix all the damage done.

Conclusion

Through my findings, I believe that apologies and actions are both necessary in the process of reconciliation between groups.  While we can never really know the level of sincerity of one’s apology, from the perspective of a survivor, it is still nice to hear.  For those who have harmed, it allows them to remove a weight off their shoulders and to forgive themselves.  However, we can forgive, but we should never forget.  An apology is not the end of the issue.  We cannot let ourselves ignore the rest of a situation after a simple “sorry” is said.  We need to prove our apologies by acting on what the TRC mandate asks for.

The one big question I am still asking myself is “How do we secure mutual trust and respect between groups?”  This question is important because in order for reconciliation to initially occur, a trust has to be created between those involved.  If trust isn’t present, then nothing can begin.

So why is any of this important?  I think we need to understand the difference between apologies and actions, and we need to do each of these things appropriately and actively.  When I say “we”, I truly mean “we”.  Progress is a collective process.  As Canadians, we all need to take part in following and respecting the TRC mandate in order to reach true reconciliation.