Plenary 3: Disrupting the consequences of histories through education

By way of evoking your interest, we are going to post brief abstracts of some of the plenary panelists for our upcoming meeting in Toronto. Here is a glimpse of what Dr. Greer Anne Wenh-In Ng, Emerita professor of religious education, Emmanuel College in Victoria University in the University of Toronto, will be presenting.

Complexities in religious education with Asian/Asian Canadians in the context of Indigenous realities in light of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report on Residential Schools and its 94 Calls to Action (2015)

Speaking from the perspective and experience of a first generation immigrant to Canada engaged in religious and theological education within Christian communities, this presentation addresses the particular challenges faced by Asian and Asian Canadians as they participate in the need for all “settler Canadians” to be accountable for the difficult histories – and continuing colonization – of Indigenous peoples and communities in present-day Canada. It will do this by

(a) exploring the “othering” shared by these Canadians with Indigenous peoples, as well as what is distinct;
(b) seeing how Asian/Asian Canadian members of one particular Christian body, The United Church of Canada, can join in their denomination’s apologies for the part it played in those histories, as well as recent ecumenical response to specific calls to action (for example, #49 on the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius); and
(c) encouraging Asian/Asian Canadian Christians to respond personally and communally to those calls to action relating to education re Canada’s indigenous peoples, treaties, cultures and spiritual practices for Kindergarten to Grade 12 and to the training of teachers for this purpose (#62, #63) and relating to the revitalization and strengthening of Indigenous languages (#13, #17).

The presentation will conclude with identifying some ongoing questions/issues, including the limits of education for disrupting the consequences of these difficult histories, and the ambiguities of appropriating Indigenous symbols/practices/concepts/ideas in such an attempt.

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