Tuesday, April 30, 2013

residential schools in Canada

There is currently a tremendous focus on developing public awareness and understanding in Canada about the history of Indian Residential Schools in Canada. From the 1830s to 1996, children from First Nations, Metis and Inuit families were required to attend Indian Residential Schools, usually far away from their communities.

The BC School Trustees Association just voted to support education efforts in line with the goals of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. More information about this work can be found HERE.

Two of the goals of the commission are to "acknowledge residential school experiences, impacts and consequences" and to "promote awareness and public education of Canadians about the IRS system and its impacts." I was able to acquire an education kit called 100 Years of Loss and we have the banners hanging in the library, detailing a timeline of the history of residential schools.

At Blair, all of our students will be read age-appropriate and recommended children's literature that introduces this significant shared history.

The intermediate classes at Blair are all reading the novel Fatty Legs by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton. This is an award-winning novel that is written for children aged 9-12. The story is about an eight year old Inuvialuit girl who leaves her remote island to attend residential school. The story is about her struggle at the school and how, with a strong spirit, she overcomes poor treatment by one of the nuns.

Although this novel does not introduce many of the tragic and devastating details about what happened to the children that attended residential schools, many of the students have questions and may want to know more. A good resource for information for parents to share with their children is the Truth and Reconciliation Commission website linked above. Another online resource of information can be found HERE.

Parents are welcome to come in to the Blair Library to see the 100 Years of Loss banners that are now on display.

~Ms Novakowski

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