In order to move forward, we must first often look back. Understanding where we’re coming from is a crucial part of developing the vision that empowers the journey to our future. The theoretical foundation of the Mandt System is steeped in positive behavior supports, trauma informed care, and restorative practices. All of these require reflecting on history to move forward. To engage in positive behavior support, it is imperative to understand the history that motivates behavior. To engage in trauma informed care, we must have an understanding of the impact that a trauma history has on a person’s neurodevelopment. To engage in restorative practices, we must understand the history of the relationships that we wish to restore. To build a better future, we must acknowledge and reflect upon our past.
I’ve been working in Queensland, Australia for the past several weeks facilitating de-escalation training and teaching conflict resolution techniques. At the beginning of each class there is an “acknowledgement of country” that is performed by one of the members of local leadership. The purpose of this acknowledgement is to recognize the traditional First Nation stewards of the land and to pay respect to Elders both past and present. This is done out of a deep respect for the traditions of indigenous people and the great contributions that they have made in their duties as the historical custodians of Australia. Far too often the contributions of First Nation Peoples have not been recognized in the past. Far too often First Nation Peoples in both Australia and the United States have been swept aside, their contributions and sacrifices forgotten.
While the acknowledgement ceremony is a celebration of traditional custodianship and the contributions of indigenous peoples, there is also the solemn duty to recognize the sacrifices made and the people and traditions lost to the genocidal practices wrought upon First Nations Peoples throughout history. It is only through recognition of the wrongs of the past that we can move forward through restorative and regenerative practices to create a sustainable future based in dignity and respect for all.
John Windsor – Director of Technical Curricula