An upcoming residential schools workshop is aiming to teach community members about the history and legacy of Indian Residential Schools in Canada.
One of the organizers who also teaches at Hazelton Secondary School, Sheena Seymour said it will help people acknowledge the true history of First Nations, as well as help people understand how inter-generational effects have impacted students’ lives and learning. She said it is open to everyone but is hoping most of the teachers, administrators and students at HSS come.
“The workshop is an honest look at residential schools,” she said. “I believe in order to have reconciliation, we need truth and we don’t have enough of that in schools. My dream is to have this part of the curriculum. I’ve worked with adult learners and pre-service teachers that knew nothing about First Nations’ history and that’s sad, if they are going into schools to teach students and all they see is the end result of residential schools, they see the people that are suffering addictions and to them that’s First Nations’ history. I know that when you become educated and learn the truth then you can understand the impacts.”
Fellow teacher and workshop organizer, Barb Janze agreed.
“There are multigenerational impacts,” Janze said. “The kids we have in school now are still suffering the effects of residential schools — I think some people, too many people, still have the idea that it happened a long time ago and they should get over it. That is such a narrow minded and naive look at history. If people have that attitude I really encourage them to come to this workshop. I think they will have their eyes open and understand a little bit more of why we have kids who still suffer from that era.”
The workshop will be hosted by Charlene Bearhead, an educator and program manager for the Education and Community Reconciliation and the national coordinator for Project of Heart.
The workshop is on April 25 at HSS and lunch will be provided. The event is free but organizers are asking people to register by contacting Seymour at firstname.lastname@example.org before April 20.