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Education Professional Development

Potlatch as Pedagogy

Learning Through Ceremony

by (author) Sara Florence Davidson & Robert Davidson

Publisher
Portage & Main Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2018
Category
Professional Development, Multicultural Education, Indigenous Studies, Inclusive Education
  • eBook

    ISBN
    9781553797753
    Publish Date
    Oct 2018
    List Price
    $19.00
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9781553797739
    Publish Date
    Oct 2018
    List Price
    $26.00
  • Downloadable audio file

    ISBN
    9781774920145
    Publish Date
    Dec 2021
    List Price
    $28.01

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 0 to 18
  • Grade: p to 12

Description

In 1884, the Canadian government enacted a ban on the potlatch, the foundational ceremony of the Haida people. The tradition, which determined social structure, transmitted cultural knowledge, and redistributed wealth, was seen as a cultural impediment to the government’s aim of assimilation.

The tradition did not die, however; the knowledge of the ceremony was kept alive by the Elders through other events until the ban was lifted. In 1969, a potlatch was held. The occasion: the raising of a totem pole carved by Robert Davidson, the first the community had seen in close to 80 years. From then on, the community publicly reclaimed, from the Elders who remained to share it, the knowledge that has almost been lost.
 
Sara Florence Davidson, Robert’s daughter, would become an educator. Over the course of her own education, she came to see how the traditions of the Haida practiced by her father—holistic, built on relationships, practical, and continuous—could be integrated into contemporary educational practices. From this realization came the roots for this book.
 

About the authors

Sara Florence Davidson (she/her/hers) is a Haida/Settler Assistant Professor in Indigenous Education in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University. Previously, she was an educator working with adolescents in the K-12 system in British Columbia and Yukon Territory. Sara is the co-author of Potlatch as Pedagogy: Learning through Ceremony­, which she wrote with her father, and Magical Beings of Haida Gwaii, which she wrote with her stepmother, Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson.

When she is not reading or writing, Sara can be found walking with her dog, drinking tea, or listening to stories and learning something new.

 

Sara Florence Davidson's profile page

Robert Davidson is a carver, sculptor, painter, printmaker and jeweller, whose work is in private and public collections internationally. He is also a student of the Haida language, culture and history, and performs Haida songs and dances as a member of the Rainbow Creek Dancers. Two books have been published on his work, Robert Davidson, Haida Printmaker by Hilary Stewart and Robert Davidson: Eagle of the Dawn edited by Ian M. Thom, in conjunction with a major retrospective of his work at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Robert Davidson's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Potlatch as Pedagogy is wonderfully wise, hopeful, heartful, eloquent, and loving! Every teacher candidate and teacher needs to read this book. The authors expertly evoke the history and culture of the Haida as they call forth the sadness as well as the hope and joy of generations of people who were misunderstood and mistreated. In this time of Truth and Reconciliation, we all need to attend to this book.

Dr. Carl Leggo, Professor, Department of Language and Literacy Education, University of British Columbia

This is not a book to be read quickly; it requires reflection to fully appreciate its content, purpose, and value. But time spent with Potlatch as Pedagogy will connect you with the Davidsons’ stories and enrich your understanding of Haida knowledge, culture, and historical struggles; and stimulate thought for considering how Indigenous knowledge, storytelling, and pedagogies could be included in educational practices.

Highly Recommended

CM Review

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