“There is a monumental surge of decolonization and regeneration of our ways of knowing that is currently occurring. The Anishinaabeg concept Biiskaabiiyang, which means returning to ourselves, is powerful enactment of this regeneration. An integral part of decolonizing is returning to one’s Indigenous teachings to gain new perspectives on identity, purpose, and well-being. These processes of decolonization are included in the Anishinaabe concept of Biiskaabiiyang.”
On April 17th, I attended the Biiskaabiyaang Collective’s teach-in event, Zhaaganashiyaadizi and Mino-Bimaadiziwin: Using Anishinaabeg Ways of Knowing to Address Racism, in Thunder Bay. I witnessed a ‘pocket of hope’ in the dialogue that took place among the Anishinaabeg community and settler Canadians, on settler colonialism and racism. In this piece I consider coming together for a purpose, or Wiisokotaatiwin, as a way to provide a crucial space to foster decolonization.
The Biiskaabiyaang Collective is a grassroots community initiative. It is not an organization. It receives no funding. The Collective is comprised of five Anishinaabeg people who have a vision to address the roots of colonialism in the community of Animkii Wiikwedoong. It is not easy to engage in decolonization. It is hard work, as it should be. The Anishinaabeg and settler people who participated in the Zhaaganashiyaadizi and Mino-Bimaadiziwin teach-in are an example of decolonizing processes: by engaging…
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