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Welcome, Prepare, and Work with Care

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Welcome Video

Credits | Transcript

Captioned and ASL Interpreted Video
Described Video Introduction
Described Video

Dear Learners,

If we were together at the same time, the stories you engage with here would be offered at the storyteller’s pace, direction, and discretion. Since we are not present at the same time, we offer the following suggestions for your engagement:

  • The stories survivor-activists have chosen to share publicly are intimate and simultaneously protect their individual privacy. As you begin to participate in these modules, we ask that you respectfully engage with their stories.

  • These stories are primary sources of expert knowledge, and they offer expertise in histories and ongoing realities of colonial violence.

  • Each survivor is a highly valued and respected member of their community. Treat them as you would a valued guest speaker in your classroom. They are the ones we are here to listen to and learn from.

How to Engage with the Stories

In each module, the survivors introduce themselves and share their intentions to teach and generate change. When you wish to engage with their stories, think through your own connections to histories of land settlement (“settler colonialism”) and ideas of desirable and undesirable people (“eugenics”). What are your intentions as a learner? What do you have to offer in terms of your own lived experiences?


You agree to enter into these stories respectfully. You also agree to engage with your own familiar and unfamiliar discomforts and difficulties to widen and deepen your own knowledge of the complex effects of settler colonial eugenic thinking, and to move beyond what you already know. The stories belong to the survivors themselves and should not be treated as mere content or information. If you are not ready to commit to respectful engagement, then please return another time.

Dear Educators/Facilitators,

If you are an educator hosting a group of learners, you agree to protect and affirm the survivors and their stories and treat them as respected guests. Here are some ideas:

Relaxed Learning

You can take a flexible path through this learning resource. Here are some ideas:

We invite you to do what you need to care for yourself and other people as you move through the learning space. In presenting this challenging subject matter we find disability studies scholar, Margaret Price's advice helpful. She says, “please do what you need […] to take care of yourself. You may need to take up a different position, engage in some manual activity—knitters, feel free to take out your work—you may simply need to leave.”1(footnote)

The survivor-activists who offer their stories here model an approach to accessing challenging stories and subject matter. Informed by the principles of Relaxed Performance, a relaxed approach to learning aims to make educational spaces more accessible. You and your students are invited to show up just the way you are, and we invite you to do what you need to take care of yourself, including moving, speaking, leaving and returning, eating and drinking, among other activities.2(footnote)

Pedagogical Orientations

The title we created for this learning space “Into the Light: Living Histories of Oppression and Education in Ontario” contains many clues about the orientations we aim to prioritize.

Storytelling based on lived experience is central to this learning space. Cherokee scholar and writer Thomas King writes, “The truth about stories is that that’s all we are.”3(footnote) And as Arthur Frank has explained, stories gain vitality and generate change when they invite more stories; on the other hand, stories lose vitality and foreclose the potential for transformation when they produce singular truths.4(footnote) The stories told here by survivor-activists are shared knowing the power of stories to shape our lives and how we live.

The three modules are presented in multi-sensory formats in order to activate not only your mind but your body. We hope that these audio, visual, and textual stories help you find different ways through this learning experience, which may or may not be familiar to you.

Part of what is shared here contain ideas that are hurtful and exclusionary – but we also share images, sounds, and discourses that celebrate difference, decolonization, resurgence, and resistance.

We reflected on the title of this course for a number of months and over several meaningful discussions. While we considered using the terms “eugenics” and “genocide,” we also thought of the way those terms might create barriers to understanding: not everyone is familiar with the term eugenics, and some might assume genocide and eugenics have nothing to do with education. In the end, we prioritized plain language to reach as many people as possible. At the end of each module, we invite you to reflect on the title, “Into the Light: Living Histories of Oppression and Education in Ontario.” After learning from these survivor-activists, do you think the title is effective? If so, why? If not, why not? If you were creating a title for this online learning space, what title would you create?

  1. Price quoted in Alison Kafer, “Un/Safe Disclosures: Scenes of Disability and Trauma,” Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies 10, no. 1 (March 2016): 1–20, 2, (Source).

  2. For more on Relaxed Performance, see Andrea LaMarre, Carla Rice, and Kayla Besse, “RELAXED PERFORMANCE Exploring Accessibility In The Canadian Theatre Landscape.” (British Council, 2019). LaMarre, Rice, and Besse 2019.

  3. Thomas King, The Truth about Stories: A Native Narrative, The Massey Lectures Series (Toronto, ON: House of Anansi Press, 2003, 2).

  4. Arthur W Frank, Letting Stories Breathe: A Socio-Narratology (Chicago; London: University of Chicago Press, 2012).

  5. Video Credits


    Dominique Ireland (Deaf Interpreter, Connect Interpreting Services), and Debbie Parliament (ASL-English Interpreter, Connect Interpreting Services). ASL video overlay by Aaron Kelly.

    Described Video:

    Writing/ dramaturgy: Kat Germain, Rebecca Singh, Jennifer Brethour

    Consultations: Melanie Marsden, Melissa George-Watson

    Voice Actors: Elder Glenda Klassen, Christine Malec, Colette Desjardins, Scotty Yams

    Sound Engineer: David Stinson

    Slide Credits:

    Video Editing and Captioning by Hannah Fowlie. Original Score by Angus McLellan.

    Mona Stonefish’s Traditional Opening: Mona Stonefish speaking in Anishinaabemowin, recorded by Evadne Kelly & Hannah Fowlie.

    Video of Light through Leaves from WeVideo.

    Voice over by Hannah Fowlie.

    Original sketches by Sue Hutton with direction from Marie Slark and Antoinette Charlebois. Original needlepoint by Antoinette Charlebois.

    Photos of Peter Park, Marie Slark, and Antoinette Charlebois by Sue Hutton.

    Photo of Mona Stonefish by Evadne Kelly. Photo of Professor O.M. McConkey is Courtesy of University of Guelph McLaughlin Library Archival & Special Collections. Ontario Agricultural College. Dept. of Field Husbandry Oswald Murray McConkey Papers, RE1OACA0066 Regional History Collection.

    Video co-produced by Julia Gray and Evadne Kelly with direction from full project team.

    This project is generously funded by: eCampusOntario (ID # GUEL - 564) and University of Guelph’s Learning Enhancement Fund. Ontario Commons Licensing-Non Derivative.


    Toaster Lab, ReVisioning Fitness, eCampusOntario, Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology, and Access to Life, Guelph Museums, Respecting Rights, Creative Users Projects, ARCH Disability Law Centre, University of Guelph, Re•Vision: The Centre for Art and Social Justice.