Each session begins with Dr. Bear lighting a tiny piece of sage and spreading smoke on his face, hands, and hair in a smear or “spiritual cleansing.” It is clear that the sessions are related to both local ways of knowing and learning, as well as historical content.
“You can’t just read abstractly about it in ethnography and absorb it in the Western sense of ownership,” said Dr. Gareau, a Metis history expert who sees his role in the sessions as bringing lightness. “The root articulation of knowledge is through experience and visitation.”
“Much of what I love about this thing we do with Dan,”
On the other side of the country, at his parents’ home in Toronto, where he returned to overcome the pandemic, Mr. Levy is a sincere listener, absorbing every lesson, extrapolating from it and mixing his Jewish origins and gay experiences. .
“The word discovery is used from time to time in our training,” he said in a discussion on the fur trade between the First Nations and the colonial merchants. “They did not find a place. It was inhabited. They just visited a place and accidentally took it. “
He keeps repeating how grateful he is for the weekly discussions. He calls them “my favorite part of the week.”
For fans, the experience was a giant mind-raising session.
“It made me ashamed of my country and my lack of knowledge,” said Sharon Tirketl, a 70-year-old Calgary artist. Although Mr. Levy’s participation inspired her to sign up for the course, she said she stuck to it because of the fascinating topic.
Marla Taviano called Sunday sessions a “spiritual and emotional experience.”
“Not only my brain, but also my heart and body are connected to this,” said Ms. Taviano, a 44-year-old writer in Colombia, South Korea, who made extensive notes during the sessions and commissioned many of the books mentioned by professors. .