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Sharing the Past to Brighten the Future

GNSGNS photo

On November 2, the Elders of Cowichan Tribes near Duncan lead Senior School students through a powerful experiential workshop focussed on truth and reconciliation. The continuing effects of colonialism and indigenous perspectives are critical pieces of the BC Curriculum for both Social Studies and Fine Arts courses, and teachers feel it is also a necessary part of our education as Canadians and human beings.

Last year, all GNS teachers and staff were able to take the workshop themselves, an experience that had a huge impact on all who were present. The workshop that the SS students took left a similar impression, helping students gain a greater understanding of the past and present issues facing Indigenous Canadians and what they can do to aid reconciliation and shape a positive future. During the morning, students gathered in the gym for an interactive history lesson, where they took on the roles of the early Indigenous peoples of Canada. They were guided by the Cowichan Elders through the experience of pre-contact, treaty-making, colonization and resistance. In the afternoon, Grade 9 and 10 students met with their individuals and societies and arts teachers to discuss their learning and reflect on both the workshop and the concept of reconciliation. “In our groups, we talked about not being ashamed of our past, but using it to make the future brighter,” said Ava, Grade 10. “And using it to eventually create a society where we don’t see any more segregation because we’ve learned from that past that it’s not right. That we have to accept everyone’s different cultures and opinions.” PHOTO GALLERY