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  • Kim Senklip Harvey

Breaking Rules

I cannot believe we're returning to classrooms for elementary and high school and positioning teachers so dangerously. Teachers are already underpaid and overworked and now we're asking them to be global pandemic prevention practitioners, on top of ensuring lil Joey learns his times tables.

I firmly believe we should cancel or amend school so they don’t have to attend in person.

Legit - a full year DOESN’T MATTER. I remember like 3-6 things from most years. Situational knowledge blah blah SURE but it isn't more worthy than exposing immune compromised people to a life threatening virus?

One of the most effective tweets I’ve seen about this was someone saying something like “kids would gladly give up one year of school versus having their parents die.”

I believe teachers have an incredible impact on our communities, I do respect their generosity to our young ones immensely but I have to say I got a reeeeeeeal big problem with the system of school.

Big surprise, I was labelled a "troublemaker" in high school. I use to sit in the principal's office a lot because I would “talk back” to teachers. What the fuck does that even mean. I never understood that a teacher could say something and I couldn’t respond and if I did it passionately I was “out of line.”

I was sitting in the office because I was questioning how patriarchal a teaching was, calling out a white male teen being rude and or legitimately trying to understand what the fuck the lesson was about and the teacher projected that I was undermining them.

I would be punished for standing up to bullies. The major instance of this was when me and my friend Karina stood up to these hockey jock assholes and a giant cafeteria food fight started and I got 17 weeks of garbage duty. Those morons tried to explode and apple on me but I Dottie Hensen caught it and fired it back and it fucking spewed all over them and they got so mad.

Breaking the colonizers rules never bothered me in, especially in high school because they are almost always set up to protect white supremacy, the patriarchy and designed to oppress Indigenous, Black and POC peoples. For me breaking settler rules is most often an assertion of my Indigenous sovereignty.

Social studies was incredibly troubling for me, English was also problematic and Gym because I had more experience and training than most teachers because I was a playing at the junior olympic level and if there is one thing teachers dislike, it's kids having more knowledge than them - which is an anti-Indigenous system.

My teachings is with the understanding that the mentor/apprentice relation is about an exchange of knowledge, no one being better, but it's about investing in the exchange and what we all can learn from our cyclical engagement.

From sports, arts and my leadership experience I've come to seriously know that time doing a thing does not mean your know anything. That white man logic.

Theatre and science became safe spaces for me because investigation and exploration was at the centre of the learning. I was given agency and encouraged to trouble the ideas, think things rigorously through and curiosity was not just supported it was necessary for impactful execution.

The rules in theatre, which I received as the ability and space to conjure, were boundless. Kids following formulas they learned in other classes we're epically failing the brief. Breaking the rules, transcending boundaries, pushing my hand through ideas and falling into new understandings of being and existing didn't get me punished. It supported the shaping of my storytelling responsibilities and nourished the foundation for my Indigenous theorism.

When I reflect back on all the titles teachers and rule upholders gave me, trouble maker, instigator, ring leader, that I was out of line, that I talked back - I'm very proud that I had the courage to be these things in a white supremacist system.

And to be clear I wasn't always fighting teachers, I was fighting a system designed to indoctrinate me. To breed me to be a "good citizen" who followed the colonizers rules and I don't ever want to be that. And to be clear I wasn't breaking rules that impeded peoples safety, if anything I was trying to find my own sustained safety in a system designed to oppress any opportunity at sovreign success.

Break the rules, questioning them, troubling them, undermine them because this is an act of rebellion that ignites the unsettling our society and imperialists need right now.

Deep love and respect for all those troubling systems.


p.s here is a podcast panel I facilitated entitled The Title Block, Grounding Indigenous Art & Design on Mixed Race Teams feat, Yolanda Bonnell, Mishelle Cuttler, Emily Soussana and Samantha McCue.

Take a listen and hear how breaking dogmatic old ways of being and doing pays my mortgage.

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