2019 marks the first year that UWGB First Nations Social Justice is being offered at Shawano Community High School. Mrs. Angela Bahr is the teacher who decided to get the ball rolling on this class.
Mrs. Bahr took about two years to get this class ready for it to be able to be taught at SCHS, which included various field trips for the teacher.
“I have read a lot, I went to the Wisconsin Indian Education Association Conference two years ago, I went along with our curriculum director to a couple meetings with different tribal members from different tribes that they call tribal consultations and I have been gathering resources,” Mrs. Bahr explained.
The class has a lot to offer to the students that want to learn about this material, and it offers students a new perspective.
“The first piece of the class is it offers students the ability to get a dual credit for college and high school. It is a great opportunity to get a college credit at a significantly lower price,” Mrs. Bahr admitted. “The class is then surrounded by four pillars. The pillars are traditions and culture, history, sovereignty, social justice and current events.”
The class allows the students to learn new things about either their culture or somebody else’s culture that a student might not know about.
Senior Morgan Johnson explained, “In the class, everyone’s opinion is valued, and it is a safe place. It allows all of us to be able to discuss things that might be offensive to talk about outside of class. The class also allows students that are Native and students that are non-Native to be able to form this bridge of knowing each other.”
Many of the students have different reasons why they took the class. It could have been from wanting to know more about the culture or to know how the people evolved.
Senior Catishe Grignon said, “I hope to learn more about the overall culture of Native Americans and how we evolved. Although I am Native, I do not know the full background of my people. I just know bits and pieces of it. I’m hoping the class helps fill in some blank spaces.”
While this class is a learning experience for the students that take the class, it is also a learning experience for Mrs. Bahr.
“I am learning a lot right alongside my students, to be honest. You know I have read our sources, but I get different things out of them when I reread them for class,” Mrs. Bahr admitted. “I think the coolest part is that I am learning right along with them.”