Lydia Sunchild is a nêhiyaw iskwew (Cree Woman) educator and proud member of the Thunderchild First Nation, located in the Treaty 6 Territory. Lydia is currently the Sr. Researcher and Analyst for the Federation of Saskatchewan Indigenous Nations for the Innovations and Research program. Lydia’s career has always been dedicated to First Nations education, where she has taken part in creating numerous initiatives that have all had the message to inspire the youth and educators.
Laryssa Gorecki is a secondary English teacher at TCDSB where she develops and teaches the Understanding Contemporary First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Studies Voices (NBE) courses. Lately, Laryssa has been working on arts-based initiatives connected to the TRC Calls to Action.
In the spring of 2019, Lydia and Laryssa embarked on a cross-cultural exchange that profoundly changed their lives, as well as those of their students. This presentation will outline their deep and personal learning, detailing unique journeys of relationship-building, reflecting on the question: “How did our cultural exchange experience broaden our understanding of what decolonizing pedagogy and relationship-building look like?” Informed by relational research paradigms (Wilson, 2008), Lydia and Laryssa, who co-facilitate NU’s first Introduction to Indigenous Education course, focus on making meaning through experience by following the teachings within the Cree Medicine Wheel framework. The presentation will invite audience members to learn more deeply about themselves as educators on a personal and professional level, and has the potential to inform both practicing and pre-service educators about the value of the interweaving of experiences, and possible ways to engage in authentic relationship-building in their own research and practice.