This just in – a wonderful report from Grade 4/5 teacher April Waters from Winnipeg’s Heritage School — accompanied by a fabulous video by Winnipeg singer/songwrtier Harmony Parent (above).
Like many other classrooms across Canada, the grade 4 & 5 classes at Heritage School in Winnipeg, Manitoba recently took part in the Project of Heart. The school we were asked to research was Norway House Residential School; the same school that our Talking Circle’s Elder, Mr. Vincent Solomon, father had attended. It’s been a powerful and moving lesson that our class believes all students should have. We were also incredibly fortunate to learn from Elaine McIntosh, a survivor of one of these schools. She shared her experience with us, even bringing in the jacket that she wore as a four year old, the day she was taken. She made a profound impact on our class.
Harmony Parent, a talented local musician, joined our class through the Learning Through the Arts program. She took on the challenge of writing a song with us about a very difficult topic. It was amazing to see how the students in our class became the teachers, educating Harmony about the history of the residential school system, and sharing Elaine’s story with her. Within three short hours, ‘Residential Wreck’ was written. Harmony worked extremely hard after hours to produce the song for us and create a fitting video.
Our class is very proud of what we’ve accomplished. We feel it’s a step in the right direction, educating Canadians about this dark chapter in Canada’s history, and giving a voice to those who don’t have one.
We’d like to thank our friend Elaine for inspiring this song, and Harmony for guiding us through the song writing process.
‘Residential Wreck’ can be viewed on YouTube. Please feel free to share it with family and friends. This is something that all Canadians should learn about. We will never forget.