Categories
reconciliation education resources

Secret Path Week 2020

Reflections of reconciliation and reconciliACTION #learningeverywhere

Stobart Community School Pre-K created this banner for their walk (teacher: Rebecca Gardypie)

Across the division, students and staff engaged in deeper learning of reconciliation, contemporary Canadian Indigenous issues, residential schools, and, of course, Chanie Wenjack’s story throughout Secret Path Week (October 17-22). The Music Department held online sessions via Google Classroom and hosted a Walk for Wenjack. Other schools participated in the Walk for Wenjack in their communities, and some schools displayed their learning on Secret Path Week display walls. These schools answered Gord Downie’s call to “do something”.

Stobart Community School’s “Walking for Wenjack” visual learning board (Victoria Hiebert & Stobart Staff)

Because I am based out of Stobart Community School, I will focus on our community’s connection to residential schools; however, I encourage you to explore and learn about your school’s community connection to residential schools, or which Indigenous group(s)’s traditional territory or homeland you are located on, or the Indigenous history of the land your community resides on. All of these actions support reconciliation. Stobart Community School is located in Duck Lake. St. Michael’s Residential School stood for many years on the south end of Duck Lake; it was one of the last residential schools operating in Canada when it closed its doors in 1996. Many of Stobart’s students have/had relatives, or personally know someone that attended St. Michael’s. Children from nearby First Nations reserves, such as Beardy’s & Okemasis, One Arrow, Muskeg Lake, and Mistawasis, and from all across Canada attended St. Michael’s. The school also had Metis students.

On Thursday, October 22, almost every grade at Stobart participated in our Walk for Wenjack to close Secret Path Week. We walked to the St. Michael’s residential school site and grounds, and we engaged in learning in a variety of ways: we listened to and shared stories, we honored those who’ve attended the school by offering gifts of tobacco to the land; we reflected on our learning from the week and made connections to Chanie Wenjack’s story. One of our EAs, Herb Seesequasis, taught the students in his walking group about the history of St. Michael’s, and he connected it to Chanie’s story. I do have a video of it that Herb has granted permission for me to share, BUT, I am currently working on my lackluster editing skills, so alas, I did not share it yet. If you would like for me to share the video with you, please send me an email! (The pressure will get me to improve my editing skills in no time!). It was an excellent week full of learning for all of us at Stobart; we learned from one another and alongside our students.

Did your school participate in Secret Path Week? I would love to see your pictures and hear about your school’s learning! Send an email to me: amanda.nelson@spiritsd.ca

Below are some pictures of our week and a few learning activities we’ve done at Stobart. Enjoy!

An ELA A10’s artwork inspired by The Secret Path (Teacher: Victoria Hiebert)
An ELA A10 student’s artwork based off of The Secret Path (teacher: Victoria Hiebert)
Stobart’s Grade 4 class discuss Treaty land entitlement at the Beardy’s & Okemasis Pow Wow Grounds (Teacher: Nicole Anderson)
Stobart’s Grade 7 class on their way to the St. Michael’s school site (Teacher: Kristan Kenney)
Stobart Grade 8 class taking in the cold October air (Teacher: Amanda Nelson)
Enroute to St. Michael’s Residential School site (photo credit: Victoria Hiebert)

Categories
reconciliation education resources

#ReconciliACTION

Reconciliation isn’t just simply teaching about residential schools. Don’t get me wrong- educating and learning about residential schools is important work, but when it comes to authentic reconciliation, we must broaden and deepen our learning about both historic and contemporary Canadian Indigenous events and issues.

This week is Secret Path Week (October 17-22), and there are loads of ways you and your students can participate and learn, or as Gord Downie stated, “Do something”, to help effect change to better the state of Indigenous-settler relations. The events are not exclusively about Chanie Wenjack, The Legacy Foundation, or residential schools- this year’s organized activities include current events and spotlights contemporary Indigenous change agents. Tasha Hubbard’s “nipawistamasowin: We Will Stand Up” documentary investigates systemic racism in Canada’s justice system after Gerald Stanley’s acquittal of Colton Boushie’s death. You can find this documentary on the NFB’s website, https://www.nfb.ca/film/nipawistamasowin-we-will-stand-up/, with a free learning guide (Note: the learning guide is FULL of lessons about historical events, current events, and activist movements, just to name a few). View it on your own, or with your class (recommended by Hubbard for grades 7-12) to further your understanding of what issues Canadian Indigenous peoples are still facing today.

Winnipeg - nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up - Living at 300 Main Downtown  Winnipeg

Have you heard about the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples?

On September 13, 2007, the UN General Assembly adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Four states initially opposed UNDRIP- and yes, Canada was one of those four (shame on us!). Thankfully, all four (Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and USA) have since reversed their position and now endorse UNDRIP… or at least as lip service at this point. UNDRIP is an excellent framework for reconciliation, BUT, it technically cannot be legally enforced unless it is adopted into legislation. Enter Bill C-262, happily on its way to be enacted, until it was stalled in early 2019. You can view the Declaration, and a host of issues Canada is experiencing trying to implement Bill C-262, on this website: https://www.declarationcoalition.com/

Where am I going with this?

I will get to my point (promise!), but first, a reader’s digest version of Indigenous rights and Treaty rights. These rights are not one and the same, though there are some commonalities. Both rights are affirmed in Section 35 of the 1982 Constitution Act. Indigenous rights pertain to all three Indigenous groups (First Nations, Metis, & Inuit) and include:

  • Indigenous title (ownership rights to land)
  • Rights to occupy and use land and resources (includes hunting and fishing rights)
  • Self-government rights
  • Cultural and social rights

Treaty rights vary and are defined at the specific time and circumstances of when a treaty was signed. Each treaty specifies rights, benefits, and obligations of the signatories. (If you want to learn more, I found most of this info on: https://www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/eng/1100100028574/1529354437231)

How it all connects: teaching current events as reconciliACTION

Now that we have built on our schema of UNDRIP, Canadian Constitutional Indigenous rights, and Treaty rights, consider what is happening in Nova Scotia. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, stop right now and read these two news articles to get yourself acquainted: https://globalnews.ca/news/7403001/nova-scotia-lobster-explained/ and https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/10/17/indigenous-leader-demands-protection-after-lobster-pound-blaze.

Sadly, this is not the first time the Mi’kmaq community has been under attack for fishing rights. Back in 2001, the same type of conflict flared up between Mi’kmaq and non-Indigenous fisheries and is now known as the Burnt Church Crisis. The Supreme Court sided with the Mi’kmaq, as hunting and fishing rights are protected in the Constitution and were negotiated as part of their treaty with the federal government. The conflict seemed like it was resolved…until now. This situation alone is glaring proof that our work with reconciliation is not nearly done, and that we cannot allot teaching about reconciliation solely on national days of recognition.

Now, I’ll leave you with some questions to ponder:

  • Knowing what you know now, how would you discuss the NS conflict with your students? Co-workers? Family and friends?
  • How does teaching current events such as this one support reconciliACTION?

I am learning alongside with you. If you have any questions, comments, tips for making my blog look better (haha!), or simply want to discuss what you’ve read, please comment below, or send an email my way: amanda.nelson@spiritsd.ca

Maarsii!

Categories
reconciliation education resources

#reconciliationpssd

What is reconciliACTION? ReconciliACTION are meaningful actions to move reconciliation forward (https://downiewenjack.ca/our-work/reconciliactions/).  Participating in the Secret Path Week’s activities is one of many ways to continue our journey to reconciliation and to further our learning of residential schools, its impacts onto Canadian society, and deficiencies in the Canadian justice system.  

Secret Path Week is almost here! The official dates are October 17 – 22 to honour and commemorate the legacies of Chanie Wenjack and Gord Downie.  As mentioned in the Secret Path Week memo, the PSSD Music Education Team is a Legacy School, and they organized activities for Secret Path Week.  All grades are invited to participate in the Walk for Wenjack- lace up your sneakers and let’s collectively make some miles (600km, to be exact). You and your classroom are invited to participate in Secret Path Week in the Music Ed’s Google Classroom (aimed for grades 7-12), or you can plan activities and lessons that are tailored to your grade or subject level.  Check out the resources below to see how you and your students can contribute to reconciliACTION:

  • All Grades: Secret Path Week information, schedule, resources and information about how to become a Legacy School is available here: https://downiewenjack.ca/our-work/secret-path-week/
  • All Grades: The Manitoba Teachers’ Society: Secret Path Lesson Plans https://downiewenjack.ca/our-work/secret-path-week/
  • Middle Years+: Secret Path Album animated music videos (*full album is over 2 hours long): https://secretpath.ca/
  • Middle Years+: Hot Docs Secret Path Week- Three FREE documentaries available for the weeks of October 13-22, and October 19-30. Links are sent to you once you sign up: https://www.hotdocs.ca/p/downie-wenjack
  • Grade 6+: Learning Bird resources for Secret Path Week: https://learningbird.com/resources-for-secret-path-week/ and teacher resources kit: http://learningbird.public-files.s3-website-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/wenjack-2019/
  • Grade 5+: Chanie Wenjack Heritage Minute: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_tcCpKtoU0
  • Grade 5+: Webinar for resources for talking about Secret Path in your classroom: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd3Lc6zmQKbqt9bDz5w5rVWBpOpxrM7Hdi_MVRNWwCgVk7H_w/viewform
  • Grade 9+: NFB documentary “nipawistamasowin: We Will Stand Up” by Tasha Hubbard. This documentary examines the deficiencies and systemic racism in the Canadian Justice System by investigating Gerald Stanley’s trial of Colton Boushie’s death. Learning Guide is available; please send an email to me if you are interested.
  • Grade 9+: CBC Gem’s “Finding the Secret Path” episodes: https://gem.cbc.ca/series/the-secret-path/all/9b3ea985-cccf-45a8-9c87-8745cbcba48f#:~:text=The%20Secret%20Path%20tells%20the,concert%20from%202016%2C%20right%20here.

Take pictures of your classroom’s learning and send them to me! I’d love to see what you are up to. Of course, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, let me know: amanda.nelson@spiritsd.ca