I do not believe we can decolonize classrooms, child welfare systems, police forces, or prisons. Having Indigenous ppl in positions as teachers, social workers, cops, and prison guards, isn't decolonization.
These structures are inherently colonial. A box doesn't change shape depending on the contents you pack into it.

"What's the solution?" We have to create totally different structures.
Look at education. Indigenous communities have put in thousands upon thousands of hours of work explaining our perspectives to colonial agencies like education ministries.

Things like the history and impact of Residential Schools and equivalent systems.
Things like the history and purpose of Indigenous education pre-Colonization. How it is multigenerational, based in doing, how it engages all the learning styles, is guided by the learners, etc.
And what do the colonial ministries hear and publish?

"Let them smudge, do a unit on Residential School history, bring in an Elder once in a while."

But the form and function of the colonial system remains entirely the same.
School takes Indigenous children away from their families and communities for hours each weekday, and somehow it's the fault of Indigenous ppls that our languages continue to drastically decline, that we struggle to transmit our cultures. We even blame ourselves!
"Education is our buffalo" but it's a lone calf, stuck inside an asbestos-ridden building hostile to community presence, given lead-contaminated water, and run by fucking rabid wolves.
You can't reform, rehabilitate, or experience "reconciliation" like this. Indigenous-led education cannot be legible to colonial educational forms, but legibility is the standard we are forced into to be "trusted".
It's incredible. Colonizers deliberately interfered with our systems and imposed their own because they believed we were incompetent, and now they continue this tradition because their violence damaged us. We aren't "ready" to do it ourselves, oh no.
And the worst part is, they convince us that working within is how we best serve our people, that if we just become teachers and educational policy folks, we can make things right, we can fit into their system.
They took our kids and forced them into their schools, and even now if we say we want to take them back, they'll be taken again for their own good. The stakes are high. I don't blame us for working within. But it's a trap.
Every "consultation" process requires, at its centre, that Indigenous ppl accept the form and purpose of colonial education, because its a "universal good."
And as we take control of schools, running them the way we are told to, we are only "successful" if our children excel according to the metrics imposed upon us; how high are their marks, do they get jobs. Nothing about their cultural competency, sense of self, etc.
Btw, I got my BEd in 2000, and have been an educator now for 20 years. But my training began in kindergarten; that's 24 years of indoctrination. I don't think I could actually provide a decolonial education of the form I dream of, of the form our Elders describe.
Veering outside of what I am familiar with wrt education is deeply uncomfortable to me, and this is something I've seen in so many Indigenous people. Just look at how we are when we get the rare opportunity to study our languages...we might want to learn it naturally...
but our comfort zones were formed in the classroom, with reading and writing, and we struggle.

What I hope for needs to exist for our kids, and it will be imperfect, and they will try too, and over time, eventually it will be good.
People are still going to ask "what will it look like" though, without asking themselves what current colonial education systems are for. Ask yourselves that, first, and be honest.
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