Teachers Garrett Metcalfe from Durham Alternative Secondary School, Paul Scanga from O’Neill C.V.I., Stephen Rhody from Donald A. Wilson Secondary School, Rene Bursey from Pickering High School, Nick Lezetc from J.Clarke Richardson Collegiate Institute, and Deborah Keeler from Pierre Elliott Trudeau Public School all participated in honouring the lives of children lost due to the Indian Residential School experience in Canada.
In total, eleven Indian Residential Schools from which hundreds of children never came home were remembered. Crowfoot IRS in Alberta as well as Gordon’s IRS in Saskatchewan (the last IRS to shut its doors in 1997) were remembered by Garret Metcalf’s students. Fort McPerson IRS and Fort Simpson IRS, both in the North West Territories were remembered by Paul Scanaga and his students while Stephen Rhody’s class honoured the students who died at Fort Vermillion IRS in Alberta as well as Norway House IRS in Manitoba. Rene Bursey and students at Pickering H.S. remembered the youth who died as a result of attending Portage La Prairie and Chapleau IRSs. Nick Lezetc and his students decorated tiles in honour of those who attended Emmanuel College (Saskatchewan) as well as Pine Creek IRS (Manitoba). And lastly, Deborah Keelers young learners, the students at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Public School put their hearts into learning about and honouring those who died at Wabasca IRS in Alberta.
Many thanks go out to the teachers, the students, and to Cliff Standingready, the Elder and Indian Residential School Survivor, who so willingly gave of his time, his talents, and his wisdom to bring lived experiential knowledge to those who are learning about a past that curriculum rarely acknowledges.
Way to go Durham District!