The hummingbird & me: Experiences with shattering as a settler educator and emerging scholar




settler colonialism, Indigenous education, narrative


I explore my experiences as a settler teacher and emerging scholar by unpacking time and place in the short children’s story The Little Hummingbird by Michael Nicoll Yahgaulanaas. I demonstrate my understanding with a hyperlapse video of traditional beading, a skill taught to me by local Indigenous Elders. I begin to unpack myself and others by centering myself as the hummingbird, the protagonist of the short story who continues to put drops of water on a raging forest fire, even though it will not put out the flames. In this retelling, I problematically view myself as a settler hero who is doing “good”, ignoring the ongoing nature of colonialism and the benefits I gain from the hierarchy of relations in Canada. In the second retelling, I become the fire destroying the forest. I recount the shattering of my settler-as-hero self-proclaimed identity, and begin to accept how I am complicit in colonial violence towards Indigenous peoples. By watching my hands work the pattern and beads, I physically depict the slow work necessary for arriving at the actualization of bigger possibilities for settler teachers and emerging scholars, like a hummingbird with a drop of water to douse fire.