Educator and Community Leader Workshop: What is the Relationship Between the Taking of the Land and the Taking of the Children?

This class is limited to 20 participants; pre‐registration is required.

Educator and Facilitator: Mishy Lesser, Ed.D., is the learning director for the Upstander Project and Education Fellow at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center at the University of Connecticut. She is co-director of the Upstander Academy, a weeklong professional learning experience for teachers and museum educators that focuses on genocide and decolonization and the skills of upstanders. Currently Dr. Lesser spends much of her time researching and writing the teachers’ and viewers’ guides for Dear Georgina and Bounty. Mishy authored the twelve-lesson Dawnland Teacher’s Guide to help students explore the relationship between the taking of the land and the taking of the children, and the four-lesson Coexist Teacher’s Guide to promote learning about the complexity of reconciliation in post-genocide Rwanda. She is a Circle Keeper and has been featured on WBUR (Boston) and PRI/BBC’s The World. Mishy was a Fulbright Scholar in Ecuador and spent 12 years learning and working in the Andes. 

Workshop Description: This is a special day‐long workshop for educators and community leaders to learn how to enter into conversation with students and community members about unexamined events in social history. Specifically, it will provide an in‐depth learning of some of the history of forced removal of indigenous children form their families and indigenous people from their land, specifically in what is now New England. Teachers and community leaders will lead approaches for incorporating this history into your teaching and leadership. It is organized and led by the Upstander Project and centers around the question: what is the relationship between the taking of the land and the taking of the children?

Intergenerational Trauma in Indigenous Communities and Movements for Indigenous Cultural Survival

Trainers: Mishy Lesser, Ed.D., Learning Director for Upstander Project and Education Fellow at the Dodd Research Center at UConn; and Anthony Melting Tallow, (Blackfoot Nation of Siksika, Alberta, Canada), visual artist, public speaker, and indigenous social justice advocate; and Luz Orozco Ortiz, co‐chair of the Smith Indigenous Students and Allies Association.

Continuing the conversation begun with the screening of Dawnland on March 3, this class will provide an intimate space in which to deepen your understanding of the removal of native children from their families, and of native people from their land. We will explore some of the ongoing impacts of this violence and ways to support movements for indigenous cultural survival. Dinner will be provided, thanks to the support of the Smith Center for Religious and Spiritual Life.

Dawnland is an Emmy‐award winning documentary, created by the Upstander Project, that tells the story of the forced removal of Native American children from their homes, and the first official U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission formed in response. A screening of the movie on Tuesday, March 3 will be followed by a brief panel discussion. Opportunities to deepen your understanding will continue on Wednesday, March 4 with a conversation about movements for Indigenous Cultural Survival, and on Sunday, March 8 with a workshop for educators and community leaders. Participants may attend any or all of the classes.