Civics in the Classroom: Citizenship Challenge Elementary Education Guide

IMPACT OF COLONIALISM IN CANADA – THE LEGACY OF RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS Residential schools were religious schools funded by the Government of Canada. The main goal of these schools was to force Indigenous children to abandon their Indigenous identities and blend into Euro-Canadian society. Thousands of Indigenous children were taken from their homes and families to attend these schools, which were located outside of their communities. These schools were designed to break the connections Indigenous children had to their families, communities, cultures, and identities. The schools were underfunded, and the children commonly experienced starvation, illness, neglect, and abuse. Students were frequently forbidden to speak their first language or perform traditional music and dance. Since they were separated from their communities and homes, they did not grow up surrounded by family. Residential schools caused enormous damage, disrupting lives, disturbing communities, and causing long-term problems for Indigenous peoples and communities. At least 6,000 Indigenous children died while attending residential schools. Content Advisory: The topics covered in this activity could trigger a strong emotional response from your students. Teachers must be sensitive to individuals and the group to ensure the classroom remains a safe environment for all learners. Set ground rules for respectful discussions and consult your school guidance counsellor for additional support, if needed. 1. Think about your family, home, school, and your school community. As a class, make a word cloud of 10 to 15 things needed for a healthy home environment. Next, as a class, make a second word cloud of 10 to 15 things needed for a healthy learning environment. 2. Read the Residential Schools in Canada (Plain-Language Summary) article on The Canadian Encyclopedia . You may also wish to consult the “Key Facts About Residential Schools” section of the same article. Think about how many of the things on your list of healthy environments were not provided to Indigenous children. 3. Watch the Chanie Wenjack Heritage Minute as a class. While you watch, write a point-form timeline of the events in the Minute. 4. After watching the video, discuss as a class: a. Why do you think Chanie chose to run away from the residential school? b. What does this say about the conditions students faced in the school? c. Was this a healthy learning environment for Indigenous students? 5. Look back to your word clouds of needs for a healthy home environment and healthy learning environment. As a class, discuss: a. Which things were removed or restricted from Indigenous children by the residential school system? b. How do you think this affected Indigenous children as they grew up and returned to their communities? 6. Reconciliation is the term used to describe the healing process between Indigenous peoples and other Canadians. Reconciliation is about relationships. It is about trying to repair damaged relationships between Indigenous peoples and other Canadians. This means that all people living in Canada should participate in the reconciliation process. Think about yourself and your school community. As a class, discuss how you and your school can contribute to reconciliation. Come up with five practical tips for your classroom/school to better participate in reconciliation. Have the teacher write these five tips on chart paper, to keep in your classroom. EXTENSION/ALTERNATIVE ACTIVITY: Divide your class into small groups. Read the Daily Schedule at Qu’Appelle Industrial School, 1893, in the “Daily Routine at Residential Schools” section of the Residential Schools in Canada article on The Canadian Encyclopedia . Compare the daily schedule of this residential school with your own school routine. What do you notice about the residential school schedule? Were children only meant to learn at residential schools? Do you think this schedule would have adequately satisfied the needs of the students? ACTIVITY 4: HEALTHY HOME AND LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS Inuit children who lived too far away and had to stay at school during the summer. Anglican Mission School, Aklavik, N.W.T, 1941 (courtesy Library and Archives Canada/M. Meikle/PA-101771). Shingwauk Indian Residential School, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, May 1966 (courtesy of Archives of Ontario/I0012275/ Mildred Young Hubbard Fonds/F4369-1-0-7RG 1-653). 6 KEY TERMS Indigenous: Indigenous peoples are the original inhabitants of the land we now call Canada. Indigenous peoples in Canada do not represent one group or experience, but a diversity of cultures, languages, and perspectives. There are three legally recognized groups of Indigenous peoples in Canada: First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. There is great diversity within each of these groups. Broadly speaking, Métis peoples are of mixed European and First Nations ancestry, and the term generally refers to Indigenous people whose historic homeland stretches west from northwestern Ontario into the Prairies. Not all people who are categorized as Métis identify themselves that way. The Inuit primarily inhabit the northern regions of Canada, where their homelands are collectively known as Inuit Nunangat. In more southern areas live the First Nations, which is a broad term that refers to Indigenous peoples who are not Inuit or Métis. Colonialism: Colonialism refers to the laws and practice of gaining control of another land or people, occupying the land with settlers, and taking advantage of it economically. In Canada, French and later British governments and settlers colonized Canada, significantly changing the lives of the original Indigenous peoples in the process. Colonialism and its effects are not restricted to the past, but continue today, with the impact still felt in Indigenous communities in Canada.