WHOSE SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE
Learning from the 60s Scoop and Indian Residential Schools
Date: OCTOBER 10-11, 2019 (Pre-Conference Activities October 10)
Location: First Nations University of Canada
Keynote Speaker: Cindy Blackstock Title: Is it genocide: A history of First Nations child welfare in Canada Description: As we trace the history of First Nations child welfare in Canada, through residential schools and the Sixties Scoop, patterns begin to emerge in the conduct of the federal government. In working to move forward from these traumas, how can we ensure that the mistakes of the past do not persist and continue to harm future generations?
Conference Convenors: Dr. Cindy Hanson (Faculty of Education and Dr. Allyson Stevenson (Department of Politics and International Studies), University of Regina Hosted by: First Nations University of Canada & University of Regina
Learning about the history of Indian residential schools in Saskatchewan (ELIT 202 and DLNG 425)
In the winter term, ELIT 202 students from Shuana Niessen’s class and DLNG 425 Bac students from Dr. Heather Phipps’ class engaged in Projects of Heart led by Niessen. Students created commemorative tiles to honour former students from several Indian residential schools in Saskatchewan. Phipps arranged to have emerging Elder-in-Residence Joseph Naytowhow smudge the tiles. Smudging the tiles is important because of the effort that was put into creating them, and to honour the survivors who are still struggling, says Naytowhow. “You want to send the energy out, you don’t want to make it stagnant, and you want to keep it connected. Smudging is beautiful that way. It helps release if there are any emotions.”
Naytowhow also played his flute and drum and enacted a story in which he portrayed his grandmother’s experience of him being taken from his grandparents at the age of 6 and placed in a residential school. Dr. Anna-Leah King accompanied Naytowhow in teachings and songs.
“Doing the Project of Heart opened my eyes to the deeper history behind the stories I’ve have always heard. There were many more stories and experiences than I could have anticipated. It made
my heart break about all of the experiences that innocent children had to endure. I am grateful to those who have been brave enough to speak out about what happened at residential schools.”
“The Project of Heart experience was a very good learning experience for myself. I found it rewarding because in researching the different residential schools it gave me a chance to gain a better
understanding. While researching I was appalled that they were still running in the later 90s. …I found colouring the chips very therapeutic but also felt peace in the classroom. It is something I
believe I will do more research on in the future and found this project to be an amazing learning experience.” Mitchell Smith.
Doing a Project of Heart, an inquiry based, hands-on, collaborative, intergenerational, artistic journey of seeking truth about the history of Indian Residential Schools, is now even more accessible with the newly translated French version of the resource Shattering the Silence: The Hidden History of Indian Residential Schools in Saskatchewan/Rompre le Silence: Lever le Voile sur les Pensionnats Autochtones en Saskatchewan. English and French versions can be downloaded at www.bit.ly/SK_IRS
Once the new school year begins in the fall, the school will be renamed The Crescents School after the neighbourhood that surrounds it.
Ashley Martin, Regina Leader-Post
Updated: June 19, 2018
http://leaderpost.com/news/local-news/regina-public-school-board-votes-to-rename-davin-school-will-be-crescents-school-beginning-in-the-fallThe Regina Public School Board voted to change the name of Davin School at its Tuesday evening meeting.
When the new school year begins in the fall, the school will be renamed The Crescents School after one neighbourhood that surrounds it.
“For me it came down to the fundamental fact that Davin School is a school,” said trustee Aleana Young.
“And having a children’s school named after someone who contributed to the creation and perpetuation of the residential schools system is fundamentally wrong.”
The seven-trustee school board has deliberated for at least nine months over the name of the school, which was built in 1929 and named in honour of Nicholas Flood Davin.
Davin was a Regina pioneer who authored an 1879 report that recommended that the federal government establish Indian residential schools.
Trustee Jane Ekong abstained from the vote, while trustee Jay Kasperski was the lone trustee to vote against the motion.
“I do feel it is arrogant hubris for a group of trustees in 2018 to revisit and correct a decision made almost 90 years ago,” said Kasperski, “without any framework to guide that decision.”
In November, the school board launched a five-question online survey, asking the public’s opinions on the school’s name. The 1,379 results have not been made public; the school division says responses were evenly split between keeping the name and changing it.
Trustee Adam Hicks, who was elected by people in the Davin School area, agreed he heard mixed reactions.
“Being connected and listening to the community has had one very clear message in the Cathedral area,” he said. “The clear message was ‘do not change the name.’”
In hearing all kinds of feedback, Hicks said a conversation with a First Nations chief stuck with him.
A bully can create unimaginable pain and suffering, which can change an individual and set them on a different path.
Even if the bully ceases to bully, the hurt doesn’t leave that bullied individual, and feelings can resurface years later.
“This is the story of Davin,” said Hicks.
Hicks recommended that a public reconciliation event be held in the Cathedral area next school year.
A new plaque will be made for the school, detailing the history of the school name.
The name Davin remain on the building’s masonry as a historical element, as will a plaque about Davin that already exists at the school will remain.
The plaque reads in part: “Mr. Davin … championed the cause of the rights of new settlers.”
Administration further recommended that:
A document outlining the school’s history and the decision should be placed at the school for students, staff and visitors to peruse; and, that an exhibit of artifacts from the Treaty 4 area and the Regina Industrial School be installed in the Alex Youck Museum, located at the school board office.
The school board determined at its Sept. 5 meeting that it would decide by the end of the school year whether to keep or change the name of Davin School.
It has consulted with its Elders Advisory Committee on the topic.
At a Feb. 28 special meeting of electors, a motion was passed that the school board rename Davin School. The motion was not binding.
“I don’t want the public to think that just because (the motion) passed, that that signals an intent or a direction,” board chair Katherine Gagne said following that meeting.
However, community member Florence Stratton — a Davin School alumna who presented the motion — said she hoped the motion would “add further fuel to changing the name.”
“It’s unconscionable to have a school named Davin — a SCHOOL named Davin,” she added, “… and Davin was really instrumental in bringing about the genocidal residential school system.”
In November, the Faculty of Education Tweeted this statistic: Only a few months after being published, the Shattering the Silence: The Hidden History of Indian Residential Schools ebook had 12,453 worldwide visitors to the ebook site. Since then the site has had 22,494 visitors! The word is spreading, thanks to opportunities at the U of R for Shuana Niessen to present about the book as well as the feature in Discourse Magazine. The next presentation will be at the Regina Public Schools Teachers’ Convention, which will be held on February 16. The session already has 82 people signed up! If you haven’t already, be sure to visit the site with a view to using the resource in whatever sector you work. Though the ebook was written with teachers in mind, and thus curricular links are available, it is useful for learning about Indian residential schools in Saskatchewan and can be of use for understanding many of the issues affecting society today.