Reading Response #7

Racism in Saskatchewan

Once again we have another hiccup or bump in the road with the ongoing struggles of racism. Racism is found all over the world and is one of the biggest problems of today’s society. Colten Boushie, a twenty-two year old Cree man was fatally shot by a white man Gerald Stanley on Gerald Stanley’s property. Boushie, after a day of drinking with his friends rolled into Stanley’s farm, armed with a weapon, creating some havoc and Stanley pulled the trigger killing Boushie. Why it is such a big deal is because it is a First Nation person against white person.

Throughout the article “After Boushie: It’s Time For Honest Talk About Racism in Saskatchewan” by Brenda MacDougall, I gained some eye opening facts and ongoing debates about racism in society. The first fact I gained from this article was how terrible some of the comments online were. People did not care how racist the comments were in their head, they had no problem of posting them online. The bashing and negative hate comments online was absolutely outrageous. One of the quotes I took from the article was, “Time to go all cowboy and Indian on these useless leeches in society that live off everyone else.” That quote was written online by someone regarding the Boushie case. The second fact I gathered from the article was how white people are always victimized of being “bad guys” when it comes to a dispute between  different cultures and how white people are always the racist ones which is not true. White people are always kind of made to look like it’s their fault. If it was another Indigenous person who shot Boushie, there would not have been as big of a deal as if it was a white person, because white people are always looked at being the racist in this type of situation. “The Very sad truth is that being ‘white’ we can be discriminated upon more than any other race and no one faces any repercussions.” The last fact that I got from this article was simply that Indigenous people and white people need to understand each other. We need to forget about the stereotypes that are rooted in each other and respect everyone. It is not a competition between Indigenous people and white people. We need to stop competing and help each other out. The three facts I stated I find really important for people to know as they are eye opening.

One question I have after reading not necessarily just this article but other articles and the whole trial and case of Bushie, is why people automatically thought Stanley shooting him was an act of racism and how everything finished out in court in the end was an act of racism. People automatically turned to “it was an act of racism.” I do not always think that is the case.

One thing that puzzles me is that how people of different races always think white people are the most racist. One bad thing happens and all fingers point towards white people. People think that whenever there is a problem between a white person and a different race the white person wins which is totally untrue. I think white people are discriminated as much as any other race. This article is a little bit of a touchy subject but I really enjoyed reading it and hearing some different opinions.

Reading Response #6

Muffins For Granny

In the 1870’s, Canadians started something that should have never happened to the indigenous people. The 1870’s marked when the first residential schools opened up for the indigenous kids. Canada felt as if they needed to provide and education system for indigenous kids. The kids that were taken from their families were basically stripped of their identity when they were taken to the residential schools. Residential schools were not a good thing, for kids and the families as described by the many people who were interviewed during “Muffins for Granny.” During this film, several survivors of residential schools were interviewed and all told their story of what happened to them while they were there.

During my viewing of “Muffins for Granny,” I learned some facts that I had no clue about before I started watching the video. The first thing that caught my eye was how young they took kids from their families. The one lady who was speaking said she got taken from her family at age six. At a young age they were stripped from their original culture, assigned a number that they were called by and forced to speak English. Secondly it was crazy how many deaths that occurred in the residential school system. They were very unnecessary deaths. Many of the kids that had friends died as described by the older women. They could have done at least something to keep the death total down. There was 3,200 deaths that were confirmed and the kids were unnamed. After that the government stopped keeping track of how many kids were dying. People think there was upwards around 6,000 deaths in residential schools and maybe more. It’s pretty sad that there was so many deaths that they had to stop keeping track. Lastly, something that I didn’t know that came from the article was how cruel the punishment was to the kids. If the teachers or leaders in the school system didn’t like something they saw, kids would be punished in ways such as: pierced with needles in the tongue, electric shock, burning hands and lastly the most gross of them all, feeding kids their own vomit. The punishments I think was one of the reasons why I think the death count was so high. They were kids and getting treated with the most disrespect possible. These people were supposed to be helping the kids but instead they were slowly killing them. The worst punishments came when kids tried to run away.

Continuing on the punishments, one thing that puzzled me from the video was how harsh the punishments were to these kids. They were taken from their families then treated like absolute dirt when they got to the residential schools. They were just kids and didn’t know any better. I get that there should be some consequences if kids were misbehaving but they shouldn’t have been as extreme as the punishments were. I am a strong believer that the reason the death count was so high is because the punishments.

I had a few questions that stuck in my mind during and after watching the video. The first was were families aloud to see their kids? The second question I had was were families notified if they had a family member die? Third, I am curious to see the actual number of deaths. They said “around” 6,000 deaths. There could have been many more. Residential schools started closing down in the 1990’s. The last one that shut down was in 1996 for obvious reasons. It is insane how bad the residential schools effected people after they were out. Most people abused drugs and alcohol to cope with their depression.

Reading Response #5

Unpacking The Invisible Backpack

Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh, had a strong message that was portrayed in the article. That message that was sent was that racism and privileges have been on Earth forever and that they are still here and most likely won’t leave anytime soon. That’s just the reality of the world we live in. You can’t control ever persons opinion or thoughts. Some people don’t realize how lucky they are and what they have for opportunity. The “Invisible Knapsack” is privileges you receive without even knowing they are privileges as white person.

When I was reading this article I gathered three true facts that stood out to me. What caught my attention first was that people who are white don’t realize their social status in the world. It talked about how white people can go out and not be judged as much as maybe a different colored skin person. We have different thoughts in our head if people are judging us or not. Sometimes if your white you get more of privilege than somebody who is of color to some people, which is wrong. Secondly what I gathered was that people of color are literally judged on everything. It said in the article that people of color will be judged on methods of payment which is crazy and eye opening. People are consistently judging other people in what they do. The last piece I gathered was that, we say everyone is equal, but are we really? The article talks about how skin color still can have an effect of your role in society which we are trying to get past.

When I was reading this article, one thing that I found puzzling was kind of the title. I was unsure were invisible knapsack came into place or what the author of this article was referring to or what the hidden message was with “unpacking the invisible knapsack”.

After I completed reading this article, one question I had was has the author ever stepped into an altercation that has involved racism or judgement due to class and what they would do about it if they were around an argument and what would be the best way to handle something like that

Reading Response #4

There’s A Beautiful Girl Under All Of This

Is life really all about looks? Reading the article There’s a Beautiful Girl Under All Of This: Performing Hegemonic Femininity in Reality Television by Alice Marwick which was published on July 23, 2010 was really interesting.  I know this article is directed towards women more, but I think men can also relate to this article which made it an awesome read for me. It relates towards men I think because as women try to be pretty and men are more driven to be big and muscular. The media really tries to influence people to try and look perfect but that’s not always the case. I chose this particular article because in this day and age people are so worried about looks influenced by media such as, TV and social media apps like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook that sometimes it can get out of hand. It all comes down to media and what people see or want to be like. Some people are never satisfied on how they look even if they are already good looking. It is amazing how much the media can have such a big impact on some people and that is why I chose this article. Like I said before the article talks about how the media influences people, but it also goes over the reality TV show called “The Swan.” On the reality TV show “The Swan,” the show brings in girls to make them look beautiful with very expensive surgeries and makeovers. The first show aired in 2004. The idea of this show is to change the outside to make the inside feel good too. The article also covers other common feminine related activity such as body work, plastic surgery and makeovers.

One big idea from this article was how the media influences body work and plastic surgery. People see how they want to look through the media and go through life changing procedures that they may not even need, especially women. A piece from this article that caught my eye was the 68% increase of people getting plastic or cosmetic surgery from 2000 to 2007 and 91% of those people turned out to be women. Makeup is accepted everywhere but plastic surgery is still frowned upon. I should not say frowned upon, but people do not like to admit if they have got plastic surgery. They like to make people think that this is naturally the way they are. Celebrities even try to hide the fact that some of them get plastic surgeries even though it can be quite obvious. As time is moving on though, plastic surgeries are starting to become more socially accepted. When a women gets a plastic surgery they see themselves as ugly and needing improvement. When people get plastic surgery, it makes them look good on the outside to make them feel good on the inside.

This particular idea stuck with me because I found it amazing how many people get surgeries done to their body because they care so much about how they look. It is unbelievable how much popular these surgeries have gotten from a span of 7 years. I could not imagine how much higher the percentage and popularity has gone up for plastic surgeries and body work since 2007 to now 2018.

You could use the ideas from this article to help you realize how powerful the media can be and the world kids and adults are growing up in. Media can pursue how people view themselves and how it may reflect on their actions. From this article realizing that body changes and plastic surgeries are becoming more common and to be aware that I may come across a teen or another person that may have had a procedure done to them. Respecting and accepting the changes people do to their body will help me grow professionally and help me be a better teacher.

Something that puzzled me when I was reading was the financial situation some people must face when going through these surgeries to make them look perfect. Obviously celebrities can afford the cost but, there probably are some people out there who care so much about their looks that they don’t think about the financial situation they are in and may not be able to afford it. These surgeries are not cheap. I know this is not necessarily about the article but it is just something I have always wondered about. Plastic surgeries usually have a positive impact on the person that gets it. As I have been saying, the look on the outside makes the person feel better on the inside. Ultimately, it is the persons decision that gets it. If it makes them happy they are going to do it. Plastic surgery is life changing and once you get one you will not go back to being the same. How I would teach this topic in class is have my students look at popular celebrity magazines and have them analyze what they see in the different celebrities like body types and facial features and have them discuss in groups what they think is real or if someone has altered their body. After discussing what they have seen in their groups I would have them tell me what they think. When we have completed the discussion on what they think I would have them right a paragraph on why they think people get permanent body changes.

There’s a Beautiful Girl Under All Of This: Performing Hegemonic Femininity in Reality Television was a phenomenal article to read. It is so true how the media can play such a big role on how people view themselves and why people do certain things to their body. Alice Marwick expressed her ideas and facts to her fullest potential which made it so interesting to read. Reading the article has helped me as a person and as a teacher going forward professionally.









Works Cited:

Alice Marwick (2010) There’s a Beautiful Girl Under All of This: Performing Hegemonic Femininity in Reality Television, Critical Studies in Media Communication, 27:3, 251-266, DOI: 10.1080/15295030903583515

Reading Response #3

Bridges & Barriers to Inclusion in Canadian Schools

Every person has the right to be included. Whether a person has a disability or not, Canada as a country needs to make sure every person feels they are contributing to society. Teachers now and students looking to become future educators are the key to successful inclusion. This article covered the basics of inclusion of disabled people in Canada and the school systems and how they deal with inclusion. They stated some important facts on how the funding works for inclusion programs. Everyone deserves to feel important.

The first fact I learned from this article was how in 1985 Canada was the first country in the world to include the rights of persons with physical and mental disabilities in its Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The second fact that caught my eye was how much more effort and funding some provinces put into their inclusive learning programs than other provinces. The smaller provinces such as New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are leading all Canadian provinces for inclusion. 50% of disabled students in these provinces are put into an inclusive environment, while the bigger provinces have around 33% of disabled students in an inclusive environment. The third fact that was eye opening was how much Canada has put into mental health funding. Canada has seemed to shift from putting funding in physical disability programs to putting the money towards mental health issues. Mental health issues have been one of the biggest problems in our society today. It is crazy that 70% of mental illness starts in childhood and adolescence.

One question I have after reading this article was why are the smaller provinces so much better at including disabled students into their school systems? Is it maybe because of the smaller population which makes it easier for the premier to handle everyone whereas there are provinces like Ontario who have millions of people which makes it more chaotic and more disorganized. I found those facts very interesting and was wondering why it is as it is.

One aspect from this article that puzzled me from this article was how they were kind of unclear on how teachers are helping out with the students who need extra attention. Like does a teacher get hired to be just a special needs student worker or are teachers just supposed to do the best they can if they have a disabled student in their classroom to help them reach the best of their ability? How does that work get divided up?

Reading Response #2


As time passes, certain necessities may start disappearing. We do not have unlimited resources. The Aboriginal people needed a way to survive so they looked at each other realizing they could use the land to help them survive. As there was less and less buffalo and other animals to live off of, they needed to farm to enable them to live. At the time, the thought of farming the land was easier said than done. As the west was still in a developing mode, the land was unknown to be farm worthy or not. Aboriginal people were one of the earliest and largest groups to attempt agriculture west of the Red River settlement.

When exploring the west for new land, it was not easy. Many struggles and bumps along the road occurred. Obviously coming to a new piece of land, there were many battles with the environment. When Aboriginal people came west they did not have much ability to farm because their technology and knowledge was not mastered. They had many technology malfunctions and weather issues which heavily worked against them. Many people questioned the First Nations people and had lots of misinterpretations on them which created issues that were not necessary.

During the reading “We Must Farm to Enable Us to live, The Plains Cree and Agriculture to 1900’s,” the article talked about how disinterested the government in Canada was in having Aboriginal people farming. The Canadian government was giving Aboriginal a tough time and going against them as farmers. The Canadian government would never really spot or give the Aboriginal people anything. They needed help and the Canadian government sort of just sat back and watched them struggle. Aboriginal people had to go to the government themselves and ask for materials to help them farm. Eventually treaties were made to ensure the farmers had the tools they needed. When they received the tools they came too late, as the conditions and climate they were working with was already bad enough they could not do anything.

The treaties that were made between the government of Canada and Aboriginal people were not respected like they should have been. The treaties were not taken seriously and the government sort of disowned and took advantage of the Aboriginal people. The government of Canada had some efforts put into helping Aboriginal people with their farming but it was a very poor and disorganized effort. As the buffalo and other animals were rapidly declining they realized they need to figure out farming or they will die of starvation.

Non-Aboriginal people could have helped Aboriginal people so much in this situation. The problem of not being able to farm could have been easily avoided and solved. The Non-Aboriginal people took lots away that the Aboriginal people had. Life for an Aboriginal person was very difficult to survive at the time because of the conflict between the government and them. There could have been so much more effort put in by the Canadian government but for some reason the government decided to act like the Aboriginal people were not even there.

As farming for Aboriginal people got tougher, more people started abandoning the agriculture side of things. People could not waste their time with it when they had starving families to feed. There was lots of untouched land that could have been started and this problem could have been easily avoided if the government would have put more effort into educate these people. The Aboriginal people were treated very unfairly and given not much opportunity.

Reading Response #1


Bombs exploding everywhere, Syria is a war zone. Many Syrians scared for their lives on a day-to-day basis. This was the reality of a family living in Syria trying to escape the madness.  Stepping Stones, A Refugee Family’s Journey, by Margriet Ruurs is a great example of a children’s social justice book. The unique artwork by Nizar Ali Badr using rocks to design all his people and the settings in all his pictures really made it interesting and it is something I have never seen before. I also found it really unique that the story was written in both Arabic and English. Stepping Stones, A Refugee Family’s Journey is a story about a family who is forced to move out of their village due to war. The journey of the family is told through one of the kids who is a girl and her name is Rama. Rama loved where she lived and did not want to leave her home. She had so many childhood memories there and she knew that she would never be back in her village again. Rama knew it was for the best. They leave their village in search for freedom along with many other Syrian refugees. The journey to freedom was very long and not every person survived on this journey. Rama and her family were not just physically strong, they were mentally strong also which drove them to freedom. The family was very lucky and succeeded to find safety and new, better life. When they reached the new country, people welcomed the family in open arms.

Using Stepping Stones, A Refugee Family’s Journey is a great story to use as a teaching lesson for younger kids in the classroom. You could use this story as a teaching lesson by teaching students that we are a multicultural society in Canada. Like Rama and her family, there are many people who come from all over the world to live in Canada. As a country, we are very accepting or diverse and teaching kids that we are a multicultural society at a young age is crucial. We have to be accepting to other people’s race and where they come from. By doing that, it can strengthen our future as a country. This book is a great teaching lesson because it notifies kids about other parts of the world and some of the daily life threatening struggles that other people have to go through like war. Telling kids how lucky they are to live where they are and not in life threatening country and telling kids to respect other people who are from different countries because you do not know what other people have been through.

Before explaining what the students should have actually taken from this story, I would read the story aloud to the kids and have them discuss in small groups what their thoughts were about the story and let them express their opinions to one another. I think it is important to have lots of discussion in class especially about cultures, diversity and what some people have to go through. After they discuss with one another what they thought about the book and what the book was about, I would have a member from each group tell me what they thought of the book and explain why that opinion came to their head. Another way I would incorporate or teach this book in a class lesson is read the book to the students and then hand them a sheet of questions and ask them the questions out loud and see what the students wrote down for their answers. They can use the paper of questions for notes to help them study.

Stepping Stones, A Refugee Family’s Journey, was a pretty short book and it is an easy read. I think the story is intended for grades four to six. Like I said before, it is a pretty easy read but the meaning behind the words is much deeper than the simple writing it is in. I think that kids in grades four to six would understand the content that is being displayed in the story. You could definitely use this for higher grades for teaching purposes.

Reading Stepping Stones, A Refugee Family’s Journey, really emphasized how important it is to teach kids to have respect for people from different countries. We have to treat people equal.  This story is a really good teaching tool that can be used in all classrooms to help create open minded children and it is a good way to start talks about racism. Being mindful of people is one of the easiest things to do. This book should be in every classroom as it is a great teaching tool.


Ruurs, M., Badr, N. A., & Ruurs, M. (2017). Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey. St Lucia, Queensland: University of Queensland Press.

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