“Not First Time Smart”: Reflections on a Modern Education System of Pimatisiwin in Northern Saskatchewan | Moch Nistam Ithinisowin: Pimatisiwin Mamitonethihtamowina Ote Kiwetinohk Saskatchewan
Keywords:Woodland Cree, Mitho Pimachesowin, Indigenous Education, Indigenous Knowledge, Pimatisiwin
When I was young, growing up in northeastern Saskatchewan, “not first time smart” was a phrase used by my Nimosom, my late grandfather, and it has stayed with me throughout my life. The lessons of this concept are two-fold. First, it instills in us values to respect the intelligence and wisdom of Kesayak, the aged elders, and to honour our First Nations heritage and where we come from. Second, it teaches us to be mindful of our families, our lands, our history, and our future. This article is a reflective criticism—through the lens of my experiences and my grandfather’s lessons of “not first time smart”—of the colonization of Indigenous Peoples by the government education and employment systems. In order to receive a modern education, Indigenous Peoples were, and some would argue continue to be, forced to compromise their distinct languages, cultures, and connections to the land. I argue that the only way that governments’ educational and employment systems can learn from the past is to remove all systemic barriers faced by Indigenous People. This article concludes with a personal reflection of how my late Nimosom’s lesson continues to influence my life towards a more positive pimatisiwin (life). This article is a chapter in the open textbook Indigenous Self-Determination through Mitho Pimachesowin (Ability to Make a Good Living), developed for the University of Saskatchewan course Indigenous Studies 410/810 and hosted by the Northern Review.
Copyright (c) 2022 Josephine McKay
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
a. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication, with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
b. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
c. The journal has the right to authorize third-party publishers & aggregators to include the Article in databases or other services (EBSCO, Proquest).
d. The journal has the right to share the Article on the Internet, through social media and other means.