This spring Ottawa’s Lester B. Pearson Catholic High School commemorated the students that died as a result of the Indian Residential School experience at the Fort Albany IRS in James Bay. This school was chosen by the class of teacher Michael Bernards for its connection with one of their Indigenous classmates.
The students complemented their classroom understanding of the impact of IRS history by attending the play Where the Blood Mixes, a powerful recounting of the aftermath of the IRSs on its survivors.
After the tiles were decorated, the students carried out the social justice component of the unit by writing letters to political leaders, expressing their concerns over the epidemic of violence against Indigenous women and girls, as well as concerns regarding the potential impact of the Harmonized Sales Tax.
The Pearson students also experienced a smudging ceremony from Greta Neepin, a survivor of two Indian Residential Schools in Manitoba.