How a Western University student from Six Nations is adding an Indigenous voice to a sociology text
Kristen Longdo says all students need to learn about Indigenous history
A sociology textbook used by first- and second-year university students across the country is getting an update to include Indigenous perspectives and knowledge, thanks to a Western University student.
The student, Kristen Longdo, has worked this summer to add information about inter-generational trauma, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, the 60s scoop and residential schools to the text book Real Life Sociology: A Canadian Approach.
The original textbook was co-written by Longdo's professor, Anabel Quan-Hasse, who realized the book needed an update and that Longdo's interest in Indigenous voices and sociology made her the perfect candidate to do the edit.
"When I went to high school in Strathroy, I didn't learn anything about Indigenous history. Even when I was at Fanshawe College, and even at Western, it wasn't part of my courses, to be honest," said Longdo, who recently graduated with a dual degree in sociology and criminology.
"These are issues that happened not just 20, 30, 40 years ago. These are issues that are affecting people today. A lot of this stuff sits with Indigenous individuals."
Longdo is Mohawk from Six Nations. She said it's important for all students to learn Indigenous history, not just those taking courses specific to that topic.
"When I looked at what topics to include in the update, it was really about, 'What are the issues that influence things today?' It's important for students to see a few of these issues and then possibly look into them more as they go into their third and fourth years."
Quan-Hasse recruited Longdo to help with the research and editing of the text book through the Heart and Head Program, which pairs Indigenous undergrads with supervisors and pays them to bridge the gap between academia and Indigenous culture and ways of knowing.
For example, in one section of the book, which deals with the methodology of sociology, Longdo added storytelling to already existing methods such as surveys and interviews.
"Storytelling is a very powerful way of knowing. When you tell a story, you show the impact and the effects that history can have," Quan-Hasse said.
"It was one of the methods used in the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women inquiry. These are methods that are being used today, to come up with solutions to key issues, and so we have added it as a method to study sociological topics."