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Indigenous Book Club

Since starting as a student intern in January for the Christian Reformed Canadian Indigenous Ministry Committee (in the middle of a pandemic!), I have already learned so much.

Having little experience previously in advocacy organizations, I am continuing to gain both hands-on experience and a peek into the inner workings of how this kind of work unfolds. As part of my work, I have also been deepening my understanding of the complex and multifaceted nature of Indigneous issues in Canada and the history of settler-Indigenous relations. 

The book is both incredibly informative and interesting

One of the projects I started in January was helping to put together a virtual book club video series centred around Thomas King’s book, The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America. The goal of this project is for people to be led in a book club on The Inconvenient Indian, where participants will buy the book, read it in sections, then meet together and watch a short video to guide their discussion.

The book is both incredibly informative and interesting, while also surprisingly humorous (drawing its humour from the deeply satirical and sarcastic style of writing). I loved the book and was excited to work on this project with the Canadian Indigenous Ministry team. 

The goal of this project was to bring constructive discussion and understanding to those who would like to know more about the history of settler-Indigenous relations in North America, including ways in which Christianity and colonization have intersected.  The book club format is designed to guide engaging learning and discussion within a local context.  

I am excited imagining the meaningful discussions

Each session of the four-part series is about 10 minutes in length, and features an introductory reflection on the content of the chapters read for that session, a guest speaker with insights that relate to that sections material, and prompts and discussion questions to build on learning and challenge readers.

I assisted with editing the video sessions, searching for photographs and media that reflect content discussed in the book and videos, and constructing an informational pamphlet to accompany and elaborate on the session material. Throughout my reading and work on the project, I uncovered stories and experiences that I was unaware of previously, and was challenged in my own understanding and knowledge just as I worked on the videos to help others do the same. 

Being a part of this project and seeing it come to fruition has been an incredibly fulfilling experience. I really feel as if this book and video series offers a lot to readers and participants who want to know more about Canada’s history, Christian involvement in colonization, or even to challenge their own assumptions and perceptions of Indigenous peoples. I am excited imagining the meaningful discussions that may be sparked as a result of this book club project that I was a part of. 

Access this book club on the Network!

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