Evoking Social Resistance and Resilience Through Reclaiming and Reviving Sankofa: Black African Female Learners Experience Saskatchewan Schools
Encountering institutionalized forms of racism during high school in Saskatchewan, immigrant Black African female students experiences in dealing with assimilatory and hegemonic in kind learning environment have not been well understood or even explored. Having moved from Ghana as a young learner, this researcher discloses the processes of being silenced in classrooms incent on Euro-Canadian learning and the indifference to unique cultural contributions that “othered” learners could offer. Addressing the lack of acknowledgment, this researcher sought to find five kindred female learners to explore how each relied on her resilience to develop social resistance to hegemonic practices. While informed by regular treatise of individual interviews, this researcher employed Seidman’s (2006) interview method, Deka Wɔ Wɔ focus group discussion and Riessman’s (1987) core narrative research analysis. Furthermore, while grounding the research in antiracism theory and Black feminist thought, this researcher offers collective analysis that arrived at cultural foundation that spoke to strength and aspiration. Sankofa is an Akan culturally valued notion that allows individuals to take on cultural identity to take on responsibility to understand one’s past. The latter allowed the knowledge keepers to identify strength, and insights to resist the assimilatory measures while learning in largely Euro-Canadian context. Ultimately, this thesis used a strength based approach in exploring the students’ experiences, and introduces Sankofa as a theoretical concept that evokes resilience and social resistance. Such findings may well be one of the first ones in Canadian educational context. This researcher believes that discovery and unfolding strategies in developing resilience and social resistance are essential in diversifying the learning environment in Saskatchewan and elsewhere beyond the much favoured Euro-Canadian context.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
SupervisorJessen Williamson, Karla
Copyright DateMarch 2015
Sankofa, Resilience, Social Resistance, Deka Wɔ Wɔ, Miyo-Pimatisiwin