Learners in the Halton Catholic District School Board (Ontario) will be able to look back on a memorable day due to Aboriginal Liason Officer Sherry Saevil, who took the time and the energy to make it possible for over 60 students from across the Board to learn about the impact of the Residential Schools on Aboriginal peoples in Canada.
Indigenous children who never returned home from going to Indian Residential Schools in Amos (QC), Fort Providence (NWT), Alexandra School for Girls (Toronto, ON), Cecelia Jeffery (ON), McIntosh (ON), and Spanish (ON) were all remembered through talk, ceremony, and action.
Here is Ms. Saevil’s account of the day’s activities:
Over 60 students from the Native Studies classes of Notre Dame Secondary School and Corpus Christi Secondary School, located in Burlington, came together for full day learning about the effects of the Residential School experience.
Our guest speaker was Wolf Morrisseau who is the younger brother of the late Norval Morrisseau, who popularized the Woodlands styl of painting. Bright colours, definite outlines, and a kind of X-ray view of figures in profile characterize this style. Most subjects relate to native legends and the natural world.
Wolf spoke about his experience of being taken away from his family while living in a residential school. Wolf’s story and his experience kept the students engaged and wanting to learn more about the Residential Schools.
Wolf had given permission to use one of his paintings as the main focal point for our tile project. The students had projected the picture on the wall with an overhead projector. Once the image was on the wall the studnets then attached the tiles ona grid and were able to trace and outlined the picture on 171 tiles. Students also numbered and coded the tiles so it was easy to put together once the tiles were colored.
There were numerous tiles that were not part of the traced picture. Students were able to refect what they had learned of the residential school and create positive messages or pictures on the remaining tiles.
Once all the tiles were completed they were then blessed by Wolf before sending them back.
Project of Heart wants to thank the students of Notre Dame and Corpus Christi, Ms. Saevil and of course, Wolf Morrisseau. The day’s learning had a profound impact on the students as can be seen by reading some of their “Exit Tickets” here: