Mine was American explorer William Raynolds, who was led the first summit expedition of the tallest mountain in Mexico Pico de Orizaba and also the 3rd highest peak in North America
This all happened in the aftermath of the American occupation of Mexico after the Mexican-American War, and summiting a mountain of the country you waged war against seems rather symbolic in many ways. But still a feat.
My random link generator knowledge gift was, Hunky Dory, the fourth studio album from David Bowie.
I like this quote from him:
The whole Hunky Dory album reflected my newfound enthusiasm for this new continent that had been opened up to me. That was the first time a real outside situation affected me so 100 percent that it changed my way of writing and the way I look at things.
I think we’ve all had experiences that opened us up and made the way we look at things different. Open education is one of those things for me.
Another thing I’ve been exploring a lot is Canada’s indigenous peoples and colonialism. Over Christmas I read Jesse Wente’s book Unreconciled - Family, Truth, and Indigenous Resistance. This is a powerful book and has changed the way I see things. In a section of that book related to education he says: “University, a deeply colonial idea and institution, is simply not the idea path for many Indigenous people. … University is simply one path among many for life - and career building.” I’d never really thought about a university as being a form of colonialism but now I do.
Here’s to knowledge gifts and the how they change the way we see the world.
Unreconciled was my Christmas reading as well. I’ve been a fan of Wente’s since his early CBC days. Something I learned was how much he struggled with his own Indigeneity, and how those conflicted feelings connected back to growing up off his traditional territory and being immersed in colonial structures like the education system(s) and traditional media. It was a good read.