Confronting the “Single Story” with Turtle Island Voices

In this TED Talk Chimamanda Adichie challenges her listeners to confront the “single story” of stereotypes and prejudice. She talks about how having a single story of an individual or a country can create misunderstandings and conflict.  I think it is important for educators to reflect on this idea and to analyze the resources we use in our classroom that might keep the single story going.  Stories of First Nations, Metis or Inuit people that are always set in the past are examples of how the single story of Aboriginal people can perpetuate harmful stereotypes.

One way to confront the single story in our classrooms is to use culturally relevant materials that address multiple perspectives and stories.  Our school division has purchased the Turtle Island Voices series (published by Pearson) for all elementary schools. Turtle Island Voices is a series of engaging and beautifully written books for Grades 1 – 8 that are written with First Nations, Metis, and Inuit content and perspectives. Each grade has modern, informational and traditional stories in a variety of genres and all are focused around Turtle Island teachings. I appreciate the multiple perspectives and viewpoints that these books provide. They showcase many cultural areas in Canada and provide contemporary viewpoints of First Nations, Metis and Inuit people. The Turtle Island Voices challenge the “single story” and provide readers with a wide range of learning experiences.

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