A message from Brianne Lolar, Panawahpskek Citizen & Wabanaki Studies Team Leader:
These modules are a result of 10 months spent with educators and Wabanaki advisors working collaboratively every step along the way. They are a work in progress as we are always learning and working at the speed of trust to effectively braid together knowledge which is crucial to the journey. This takes time.
Unfortunately, Wabanaki numbers are not what they once were, leaving few to do the work of many. The partnership with allies was and will always be crucial. As we’ve realized, there is no such thing as a perfect curriculum that can be taught to all. Education is about differentiating. Education is about understanding, not memorizing. It’s about an approach, a lens, a pedagogy, a way of knowing. It’s about decolonizing our thinking and learning to look at things differently to effectively understand one another. There is no step-by-step or overnight fix. It’s months and months of vulnerability and willingness to change.
During my time working on the Wabanaki studies modules, I witnessed a tremendous amount of growth, in myself, as well as the others in this journey. Those who left themselves open to being wrong, to make mistakes, to listen and unlearn, were the ones that made the most growth. Those who felt shame when they were wrong and either pushed back or shut down brought that growth to a halt. Those who might have been further along in their learning journey than others, but through comparison felt they didn’t need to continue to be vulnerable, halted their growth as well. It was an incredibly challenging year for the Instructional Designers. It was the most difficult time they’ve ever had working on MOOSE modules, but the growth wouldn’t have been possible without self-reflection.
This will not be easy work. It takes time, patience, and immense vulnerability. Six months into this community-based journey, more and more educators started shifting their lens on the way they created materials. The struggle started to ease up as they leaned into the process and bridged that space between in their thinking. Some of the educators are still resistant to this new approach, but there is hope. It doesn't happen overnight. We are stronger together. Community-based educators, working together to hear each other's voices takes time and nurturing. The journey continues.
Learn more about the Maine Department of Education's Wabanaki Studies work and connect with the Wabanaki Studies Specialist by visiting our main Wabanaki Studies page.