Erin Halonen is an Educator and the former First Nations, Métis, Inuit, Curriculum Consultant in the Curriculum Implementation and Resources Branch, Alberta Education. Her passion for Education for Reconciliation and Indigenous Ways of Knowing was born through her lived experience with the local Cree First Nations community. Embedded in her work is deep sense of agency to urge the provincial education system to move forward in reconciliatory understanding and action.
My grandmother emigrated to Canada from Kiev, Ukraine when she was 5 years old. The homestead my grandmother and her family settled on, and farmed was near Newbrook, AB. My grandmother was a fantastic story teller. I used to sit beside her in a huge orange arm chair and listen to her share her stories. After hours of listening to her stories, I remember asking her to tell me another story, and she would reply, “I’ve told you all of my stories now.”
She shared stories about the Indigenous families that would travel and camp to help the Ukrainian farmers during harvest season. She shared about how my late Aunty Vicky, as a young girl, would play with the children, while the adults worked to stook the sheaves of grain and run the threshing machine.
I am looking forward to learning more about the connection between the Ukrainian settlers and the Indigenous by listening to the lecture The Story of these Land’s: Recovering Indigenous-Ukrainian Narratives in East Central Alberta by PHD student Leah Hrycun.
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