In this interview Kaz MacKenzie speaks about her research looking at whiteness, some of the impact of white supremacy on Indigenous children and youth, why whiteness is an important topic for CYC practitioners to think and talk about, and mentions many authors, books, and other resources to learn more about some of these topics. Out of her research in collaborative dialogues with experienced, critical, politicized CYC practitioners, four themes emerged that attend to systemic issues and the difficulty of challenging dominant white norms and conventions in the field of CYC: 1) working in colonial violence and racism; 2) white settler fragility; 3) power and privilege, and; 4) troubling ally-ship. These key themes explore the complex, embodied individual and collective ethical responsibilities of white settler CYC practitioners.
Kaz MacKenzie is a white, cis woman (she/her) living on the unceeded territory Songhees, Esquimalt and W̱SÁNEĆ Nations. Her ancestors are of Irish, Scottish and English lineage. She is currently an MA student in CYC at the University of Victoria, completing her thesis, “Integrating Fluid, Responsive and Embodied Ethics: Un-settling the Praxis of White Settler CYC Practitioners”. For the last 25 years she has worked, and learnt, as a recreation facilitator, alternative education co-ordinator, and youth outreach worker in community-based agencies, on and off reserve, in rural and urban settings; this work has been beside the resilience, fortitude, and beauty of youth people facing the violent realities of settler colonialism and racism. Recently, she has started a co-op work term as a researcher with the Office for the Representative for Children and Youth. Kaz strives, in her life, work and research, to be committed to her own unsettling, to attend to the responsibilities of settler/occupier repair and to forge pathways to anti-racist, anti-colonial, and intersectional praxis in CYC.