Can foundational settler stories be rewritten? Heather Bensler, Re-Storying the Past: Transforming the White Settler Colonial Stories that Formed Us, PhD dissertation, University of Calgary, 2022


Abstract: In this study, I explore the ways Settler nurse educators understand their identity within the context of Canada’s colonial narrative. I provide a generative space for critical reflectivity on my own social location through creative, embodied explorations of my Settler-colonial story and experiences, Indigenous historical accounts, and dialogical engagement with Canada’s socio-historical configuration as a Settler nation-state. I consider the ways Whiteness , (DiAngelo, 2018a), Settler identity (Tuck & Yang, 2012; Wolfe, 2006), and Settler colonial logics act as barriers to transforming Settler understanding of Canada’s Settler colonial history and Indigenous sovereignty (Donald, 2009). Using Indigenous Métissage as a research sensibility, I engage in narrative and embodied practices to better understand and transform my relationship to self, land, and Canada’s colonial history. Through braided stories of place, practices, and historical perspectives, I examine the impact that Camp Chief Hector had on my White settler formation and its exclusionary and exploitative relationship with the Stoney Nakoda Nation. I consider a path towards reconciliation; one created by attending to respect and reverence, reciprocity, kinship relationality, and treaty responsibility. By thinking through my lived experiences as an entry point to engage Settler identity, I tell a more truthful account of Canadian history and of the current state of how Settler colonial logics influence the relationship between Settlers and Indigenous people.

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