Legacy Schools: Spring Poster Challenge, Red Dress Day, and More

Thank you to those who applied to the Youth Ambassador program and for a free virtual art workshop – we had over 150 applicants for 20 spots! We will be in touch with selected applicants soon. As well, our Spring Poster Challenge is still open, we can’t wait to see what reconciliACTION means to youth, their family, and community! For details on this and more, check out all the exciting things we are getting up to below.


Indigenous History Month 2022

Indigenous History Month is fast approaching, and to celebrate we’re hosting four virtual events throughout the month of June! In addition to celebrating Indigenous history, culture, and arts, we will also be raising awareness of the true history and impact of Canada’s residential school system.  All peoples in Canada, from coast to coast to coast, are invited to tune in for each of the events.

The themes for this year’s program are reflection, honour, and commitment, and will feature Indigenous teachings, artist performances, and cultural presentations from the Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick. Finally, the month will conclude with a special Canada-wide episode

Click here to view the full artist line up and dates that each episode will air.

With so many incredible performances and guests, Indigenous History Month 2022 is shaping up to be an exciting celebration and we hope you will join us!


Red Dress Day – May 5

Students at Ecole Catholique Sainte-Marguerite-Bourgeoys in Woodstock, ON created a display with the names and photos of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit people to raise awareness and create change.

The National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit people (MMIWG2S+) is coming up on May 5. This day is also known as Red Dress Day, as it began as an art installation by Jaime Black and as an “aesthetic response to more than 1000 missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada”.

After obtaining permission to organize a ceremony, two Legacy Schools, Secondary Catholic Notre-Dame and École Catholique Sainte-Marguerite-Bourgeoys in Woodstock, ON prepared a day of recognition for all MMIWG2S+ in our country. This day of mourning and recognition took place on October 22 as part of their Secret Path Week.


May 5: Resources for Schools

Georges P. Vanier Secondary in Courtenay, BC honoured the Red Dress Project.

Learn more about how to include Red Dress Day and the National Inquiry’s Final Report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people in your lessons and activities with youth.

The Final Report of the National Inquiry into MMIWG, titled Reclaiming Power and Place, is comprised of the truths of more than 2,380 family members, survivors of violence, experts, and Knowledge Keepers who shared their experiences over two years of public hearings and evidence gathering. There are 231 Calls for Justice directed at governments, social service providers, schools, and all people in Canada.

Watch Theland Kicknosway’s previous DWF LIVE session where he discusses the importance of understanding MMIWG2S+ and their families.

Reclaiming Power and Place

Red Dress Project

Legacy Schools MMIWG2S+ Resources


Spring Poster Challenge

Liam, a student from Ecole James Nisbet Community School in Winnipeg, MB submitted this poster in response to the question, “What does allyship mean to you?” a few years ago.

Spring Poster Challenge 2022: What does reconciliACTION mean to you?

As part of the Legacy Schools Program, participants are encouraged to engage in reconciliACTIONs throughout the year. This year, students and youth are asked to create a poster that answers the question: what does reconciliACTION mean to you, your family, or your community?

View our Poster Challenge details

Prizes:

  • Students will win an amazing prize pack including an Orange Shirt from DWF.
  • Teachers with the most class participation will be entered into a draw to win a classroom set of DWF Orange Shirts.

Six Categories:

  • Elementary Pre-K – Grade 5 (ages 4-10 years)
  • Middle Grade 6 – 8 (11-13 years)
  • Secondary/High School 9-12 (14-18 years)
  • Post-secondary education/Young Adult (18-25 years)
  • Youth Group or Club

Class/Group with most submissions (up to 25 Orange Shirts will be offered to leader/teacher in charge)

Deadline: Friday, May 13, 2022.

Winners Announced: Wednesday, May 25, 2022. Prizes will be mailed out to schools or homes based on safety and health measures in place in that region.

Submissions should be high quality artwork 8.5×11 inches, at 300 dpi resolution.

Submit PDF files here


Tell us How we’re Doing!

It’s spring and the end of the school year is in slight! We want to hear about your experience with the Legacy Schools program and how we can improve our toolkits and booster packs coming in September. Please take a moment to complete our survey and a chance to win a DWF Prize pack!

Fill out the Survey


Moving schools? Taking a leave of absence? Changing Clubs? Let us know!

We’re getting ready to send you some amazing updated materials in September’s Booster Kits that you won’t want to miss! Please let us know if you’re changing positions so we can send your Legacy Schools Booster Kit to your new location or pass it along to someone who is taking over for you.

Update Contact Information


Upcoming DWF Live & Events

Each month, Indigenous artists and leaders will join Legacy Schools classrooms and youth groups for live performances, storytelling, and more as we continue to explore how we can all move reconciliation forward. Sign your Legacy School group up today for free to engage with our Artist Ambassadors each month.

Stephanie Harpe | Voice for Indigenous Peoples Rights

When: Monday, April 25th at 1:00pm EST

Stephanie is an International Advocate for Murdered or Missing and Exploited Indigenous Peoples (MMEIP), a murder attempt survivor, and a family member of MMEIP who was also a part of public testimony for the national inquiry. Harpe is an acclaimed Indigenous advocate whose notable achievements include being a keynote speaker for the United Nations, traveling to 45 Indigenous communities in western Canada, and hosting a MMEIP support group for three years.

Register Here


Legacy Schools: ReconciliACTIONS

Ms. Tenenbaum’s class at Thomas Lester Wells Public School in Toronto, ON has been unpacking Chanie’s residential school experience through the artwork of the ”Secret Path”.

Ms. Tenenbaum’s class at Thomas Lester Wells Public School in Toronto, ON has been examining the Secret Path using the art of Jeff Lemire to unpack Chanie’s residential school experience. After reading the “Secret Path”, students analyzed the imagery in two of the songs. Following their analysis, they selected a powerful image from the book and recreated the picture using the same watercolour and ink techniques Lemire uses in his illustrations. Thank you for sharing your students’ beautiful artwork, and inspiring others to take reconciliACTION, Ms. Tenenbaum!.

Send us your ReconciliACTIONS

We love seeing and sharing what our Legacy Schools are doing! Send us your reconciliACTIONs for a chance to be featured in our ReconciliACTION Guidebook, in next year’s Legacy School materials, and other DWF communications!

Submit Yours Here

Share your ReconciliACTIONs on social media

We love seeing the change you’re making – and so does the DWF community! Share your photos and tag us on social media @downiewenjack and we’ll try our best to share with our networks.

DWF Workshops, Live Events, and Last Call for Youth Ambassadors!

As summer approaches, we are gearing up for some exciting events you won’t want to miss out on! The deadline for applications for our Legacy Schools virtual art workshops as well as our Youth Ambassador Program are fast approaching so be sure to submit yours today! Also, don’t forget to check out our latest Legacy Space partner, Bimbo Canada, and join us for more DWF Live events with special guests, Theland Kicknosway and Stephanie Harpe. For more information on what we are up to this month, check out all the details below!


Legacy Schools Virtual Art Workshops

Frances Palliser-Nicholas and Rebecca Salmonson from Atelihai (Welcome) Inuit are some of the artists who will be holding workshops teaching Legacy Schools how to make their own seal skin bracelet.Do you know a teacher or youth group that would like to participate in an interactive artist workshop for Indigenous History Month in June? We’re providing free workshops to Legacy Schools throughout Canada!

20 Legacy Schools groups will be chosen based on region, and the selected groups will be contacted by DWF.

Apply Today


What is the Legacy Schools Program?

The Legacy Schools program began five years ago with 300 schools pledging to take reconciliACTION. Since that time, the program has grown to over 5600 schools, with representation in every province and territory. By signing up, teachers and youth group leaders will receive free resources, which include copies of the Secret Path book, educational resources (virtual & in class), a reconciliACTION Guide, a DWF school flag, and access to over 650 free online resources.

Apply Today


Upcoming DWF LIVE

Theland Kicknosway | Singer and Grass and Hoop Dancer

When: Monday, April 11th at 11:00am EST

Theland is a member of Wolf Clan, of the Potawatami and Cree Nation, from Walpole Island, Bkejwanong Territory in Southern Ontario. He is a singer, a grass and hoop dancer, and helps in ceremonies in many places. In November 2015, at just 12 years old, Theland led the incoming Prime Minister and cabinet into the swearing-in ceremony with a drum song.

Register Here

 

Stephanie Harpe | Voice for Indigenous Peoples Rights

When: Monday, April 25th at 1:00pm EST

Stephanie is an International Advocate for Murdered or Missing and Exploited Indigenous Peoples (MMEIP), a murder attempt survivor, and a family member of MMEIP who was also a part of public testimony for the national inquiry. Harpe is an acclaimed Indigenous advocate whose notable achievements include being a keynote speaker for the United Nations, traveling to 45 Indigenous communities in western Canada, and hosting a MMEIP support group for three years.

Register Here


Youth Ambassador: Last chance to apply!

DWF is recruiting 100 Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth from throughout Canada to participate in an online, part-time summer program that will support them in becoming champions of reconciliation in their schools and communities. Youth will gain practical work experience, network, strengthen 21st-century skills, and gain leadership experience while learning about Canada’s true history of residential schools.

The Youth Ambassador program is open to Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth ages 16-25 years old from anywhere in Canada, including rural, remote, urban, and on reserve. Participants will receive an honorarium at the end of the program to honour their time, commitment, and participation.

“The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund Youth Ambassador program is filled with great cultural and educational content. The toolkit that we received as a part of the program is curated with incredible hands-on activities that were brought to life by relevant and inspiring guest speakers. I would highly recommend this program to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth as I was engaged and challenged through the full 4 weeks of the program.”
-Isabelle Bailey, past program participant

Applications close: Friday, April 15, 2022

Apply Now


Legacy Spaces Update

The Bimbo Canada Legacy Space features a mural by Artist Ambassador Blake Angeconeb inspired by artistic elements from the Seven Teachings and the company’s commitment to ‘Moving Forward, Together’

Meet our Latest Partners:

Canada’s oldest and largest bakery, Bimbo Canada, launched the Legacy Space inside their head office in Etobicoke, Ontario on March 23. “Bimbo Canada believes reconciliation is an important social issue for all Canadians, including our associates,” says Teresa Schoonings, Senior Director of Sustainability for Bimbo Canada. “We are committed to doing our part to create a safe, welcoming space that provides education and spreads awareness about Indigenous history and our journey towards reconciliation.”

In April, Accenture Canada will launch their first Legacy Space inside their office in downtown St. Catharines, Ontario. Their Legacy Space features a mural and art installations by Waab-Shki-Makoons (Clayton Samuel King) who was born and raised in Niagara and is a member of Beausoleil First Nation. They plan to open a total of six Legacy Spaces throughout Canada!

Learn more about Legacy Spaces

Legacy Schools: Spring is in the air!

We’ve got some exciting things coming up! In celebration of Indigenous History Month in June, we are offering Artist Ambassador workshops to 20 lucky Legacy School classes or youth groups. Also, our Youth Ambassador applications are still open, and we are now accepting submissions for our Spring Poster Challenge. We’ve got lots going on to help you on your reconciliation journey, check out all the details below for more information!


Offering Free Artist Workshops for Legacy Schools!

Lindsay Lickers and Patrick Hunter are just a couple of the many artists offering virtual workshops in beading and painting for Legacy Schools.Want to have your class learn to paint a beautiful original painting while learning about Anishinaabe culture? Or perhaps you’d like to undertake a beading project with youth while learning about treaties or language. Or maybe your students/youth are interested in making bracelets using seal skin and learning about traditional hunting practices. Wherever your interest lies, we have a workshop for you!

20 Legacy Schools groups will be chosen based on region, and the selected groups will be contacted by DWF.

Apply Today


Spring Poster Challenge: What does reconciliACTION mean to you?

Belfast School in Calgary Alberta have been taking reconciliACTION through art and learning about Chanie’s residential school experience through the ”Secret Path”.Submit a poster for a chance to win the DWF 2022 Spring Poster Challege. As part of the Legacy Schools Program, participants are encouraged to engage in reconciliACTIONs throughout the year. Students and youth are asked to create a poster that answers the question, what does reconciliACTION mean to you, your family, or your community?

View our poster challenge details

Prizes:

  • Students will win an amazing prize pack including an Orange Shirt from the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund.
  • Teachers with the most class participation will be entered into a draw to win a classroom set of DWF Orange Shirts.

Six Categories:

  • Elementary Pre-K – Grade 5 (ages 4-10 years)
  • Middle Grade 6 – 8 (11-13 years)
  • Secondary/High School 9-12 (14-18 years)
  • Post-secondary education/Young Adult (18-25 years)
  • Youth Group or Club

Class/Group with most submissions (up to 25 Orange Shirts will be offered to leader/teacher in charge)

Deadline: Friday, May 13, 2022.

Winners Announced:  Wednesday, May 25, 2022. Prizes will be mailed out to schools or homes based on safety and health measures in place in that region.

Submissions should be high quality artwork 8.5×11 inches, at 300 dpi resolution.

Submit PDF files here


Youth Ambassador Applications are OPEN!

Youth Ambassadors will learn about Indigenous cultures and exchange ideas with a variety of special guests. Above, Classic Roots presents to Legacy Schools during Secret Path Week on DWF LIVE.We are accepting applications for our Youth Ambassador Program, which takes place this summer. This program offers youth (16-25 years old) the opportunity to gain practical work and leadership experience, network, and strengthen 21st-century skills, all while learning about Canada’s true history of residential school system.

Throughout the 4-week paid leadership program, 100 Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth from across Canada will engage in online, part-time work that will turn them into champions of reconciliation in their schools and communities.

At the end of the program, the youth participants will have the chance to make lasting change through our volunteer Youth Advisory Council, which will help guide our programming and champion our work.

Applications close April 15 so make sure to share with your students and youth groups!

Apply Today


Upcoming DWF Live & Events

Mimi O’Bonsawin | Artiste musical canadien-français (Événement français)

Quand: Le 5 avril @ 13h
Événement français

Si vous êtes attirés par la beauté et la puissance des paysages Boréales, on vous invite à embrasser la musique de Mimi O’Bonsawin. À travers sa musique, elle incarne les paysages à la fois bruts et magnétiques des eaux du nord de l’Ontario, tout en rendant un hommage vibrant à ses riches racines abénaki et canadiennes-françaises. Ses créations musicales empruntent d’amour, ont la ferme intention de transmettre et de sensibiliser.

Son album ELLE DANSE, fut nominee au prix Trille Of et se veut une suite convaincante à ses trois albums précédents. Suivez Mimi sur www.mimi.ca.

Inscrire ici


Tell us How we’re Doing!

It’s spring and the end of the school year is in slight! We want to hear about your experience with the Legacy Schools program and how we can improve our toolkits and booster packs coming in September. Please take a moment to complete our survey and a chance to win a DWF Prize pack!

Fill out the Survey

March 2022 Newsletter

With talented new Artist Ambassadors, exciting performances, and stories of incredible reconciliACTIONS, March is shaping up to be an exciting month! Take a look at just a few of the things we are looking forward to and don’t forget to check out our careers page for some exciting new opportunities with the expanding DWF team.


New Artist Ambassadors

Above: The North Sound, Fawn Wood and Handsome Tiger are just a few of our newest Artist Ambassadors.We’re excited to announce a few new additions to our Artist Ambassador Program! With new names like Fawn Wood, Handsome Tiger, The North Sound, and the legendary Willie Thrasher, we are looking forward to some wonderful performances during Indigenous History Month, Legacy School visits, and our DWF LIVE sessions. Be sure to check out our full list of talented artists here.


Upcoming DWF Live & Events

Cody Coyote | Hip-Hop / Electronic Artist

Cody Coyote was born in Ottawa, Ontario and is of Ojibwe/Irish descent with ancestry from Matachewan First Nation. With his fusion of profound lyricism accompanied by influential sound, this multi-award-award winning Hip-Hop/Electronic artist grasps listeners’ attention and delivers a mesmerizing performance.When: Wednesday, March 9, 10:00 am ET

Register here

Phillip Lewitski and Joshua Odjick | Stars of Film WILDHOOD

Stars of the landmark 2-spirit film WILDHOOD Phillip Lewitski (Vikings, Utopia Falls) and Joshua Odjick (The Swarm, Unsettled) join DWF LIVE! to discuss their experiences as young Indigenous actors, and their time working on the beautiful coming-of-age film written and directed by Bretten Hannam.In a rural east-coast trailer park, Link lives with his toxic father and younger half-brother Travis. When Link discovers his Mi’kmaw mother could still be alive, it lights a flame and they make a run for a better life. On the road they meet Pasmay, a pow wow dancer drawn to Link. As the boys journey across Mi’kma’ki, Link finds community, identity, and love in the land where he belongs. WILDHOOD is released theatrically on March 11, 2022 in Canada. For more details visit: wildhoodmovie.comWhen: Friday, March 11, 1:00pm ET

Register here

Mimi O’Bonsawin | Musician | FRENCH SESSION

Mimi O’Bonsawin epitomizes the powerful scenery of Northern Ontario and the beauty of its waters through her music, all the while yielding to her French Canadian and Abenaki roots. Her musical creations flow through a centre of love, with the intention of giving back and spreading awareness.Her album, ELLE DANSE, is a self-produced French EP that has been gaining momentum with placements on Spotify, Amazon, and Apple Music curated playlists. ELLE DANSE was in ELMNT FM’s top 10 Best Albums of 2020, and it was recently nominated for two prizes at the TRILLE OR Awards.When: Tuesday, April 5, 1:00pm ET

Register here


Legacy Schools: ReconciliACTIONs

Students and staff at Argyle Alternative High School in Winnipeg, MB sharing stories and participating in a Walk for Wenjack with special guests, Lorraine Daniels and Patricia Myran.After becoming a Legacy School in May of 2021, Kathryn Foley-Licandro and the staff at Argyle Alternative High School were excited to use their resources and toolkits to engage with their community in the journey towards reconciliation. With an incredible visit to the National Indigenous Residential School Museum of Canada with the members of the Long Plains First Nation, and an unforgettable Walk for Wenjack they did just that! Read all about their reconciliACTION experience by clicking here.


Legacy Spaces Update

Artist Ambassador Blake Angeconeb works on a mural for one of our latest Legacy Spaces partners in Toronto.Since Secret Path Week 2021, we have welcomed 11 new partners to the Legacy Spaces Program, and we look forward to revealing which organizations are taking reconciliACTION with us! We now have over 50 open or planned Legacy Spaces in 26 cities throughout the country!For more information on creating a Legacy Space within your organization, please visit LegacySpaces.ca.


Youth Ambassador Applications are OPEN!

Spread the word! We are happy to announce that the DWF Youth Ambassador Program will be taking place in July and August of 2022. The program allows individuals to gain practical work experience and develop leadership skills by connecting two groups of 50 Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth ages 16 – 25 throughout Canada. While learning about Canada’s true history, youth will develop their understanding of what reconciliation means to them, how to apply it in their communities, and become leaders of positive change. Learn more about the program and how to apply here.


We’re Hiring!

We’re hiring! Join a passionate team working to move reconciliation forward throughout Canada. Please share widely with folks you know who may be interested!

Finance and Operations Assistant

The Finance and Operations Assistant will work closely with provide support to the President & CEO and Director of Programs & Operations along with the organization as a whole. The successful candidate will provide timely, accurate, and actionable coordination to support executive operations, including financial and HR administration and other duties as required.

Education Program Assistant

The Education Program Assistant will provide support to the Education and Activation department and is responsible for performing various administrative functions. The successful candidate will be responsible for providing operational support, assisting with the coordination and execution of the Legacy Schools program, and providing ongoing support to the leadership team as required.

DWF Careers Page

ReconciliACTIONs from Argyle Alternative High School in Winnipeg, MB

By: Kathryn Foley-Licandro

Argyle Alternative High School staff and students at the Residential School Museum in Portage La Prairie, MB with special guests, Lorraine Daniels and Patricia Myran.

Argyle Alternative High School became a Legacy School in May 2021. As an alternative high school, located in the heart of the North End of Winnipeg, on Treaty One Territory and home of the Metis Nation, our student body identifies as mostly Indigenous. Indigenous education is a core value at our school and included in all our programming. Becoming a Legacy School allowed us to engage our community in the journey towards Reconciliation. Becoming a Legacy School has provided the resources and toolkits toward ReconciliACTIONS.

When school started in 2021, our intention was to take our students and staff to the Cecile Jeffery Residential School in early October. With the pandemic restrictions and with many of our students in the care of Child and Family Services, we were not able to cross the provincial border. We put our thinking caps on and headed out to explore new options. Pat Mainville, our principal, suggested that we explore the Residential School Museum in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba.

Argyle Alternative High School staff and students participating in a sharing circle.

On September 28th, 2021, with our masks on and residents of Long Plains First Nation ready for our arrival, we headed out to Portage La Prairie to visit the National Indigenous Residential School Museum of Canada. Our students and staff were deeply honored to meet with survivors, Lorraine Daniels and Patricia Myran. The ladies shared their stories before we toured the museum, and then shared a meal on the land together where a great bald eagle watched over us! During our sharing circle, the eagle actually flew over us several times to remind us that we are loved and that the Eagle carries our prayers to the Creator. It was an amazing day of hard work and learning together as a community.

Students and staff from Argyle Alternative High School sharing stories and participating in a Walk for Wenjack with Lorraine Daniels and Patricia Myran.

Our second big ReconciliACTION was during the Secret Path Week. Again, we were honored to have Lorraine and Patricia join us all the way from Portage La Prairie and walk for Chanie. We decided to walk to the site of the “Muddy Waters” at the Forks where the Canadian Human Rights Museum is located. We gathered on the steps and heard stories about courage and forgiveness. After, we walked back to our school along the Red River, had Tacos in a bag to fill our bellies, and we said, “until we meet again” to the women who have changed us forever and reached our hearts with their kindness and words; we will never forget them. We look forward to participating in many more experiences like this as we move forward on this journey.

Legacy Schools: We’ve got lots going on!

It’s been a challenging year to teach and lead youth, but the good news is that spring is in sight! Our annual spring poster contest, Youth Ambassador program, and Artist Ambassador programs are in full swing, and we want you to get involved!


Youth Ambassador Applications are OPEN!

We are happy to announce that the DWF Youth Ambassador Program will be taking place in July and August of 2022. The program allows individuals to gain practical work experience and develop leadership skills by connecting two groups of 50 Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth ages 16 – 25 throughout Canada. While learning about Canada’s true history, youth will develop their understanding of what reconciliation means to them, how to apply it in their communities, and become leaders of positive change. Learn more about the program and how to apply below.

Apply to the 2022 Youth Ambassador Program


Upcoming DWF Live & Events

Cody Coyote | Hip-Hop / Electronic Artist

Cody Coyote was born in Ottawa, Ontario and is of Ojibwe/Irish descent with ancestry from Matachewan First Nation. With his fusion of profound lyricism accompanied by influential sound, this multi-award-award winning Hip-Hop/Electronic artist grasps listeners’ attention and delivers a mesmerizing performance.

When: Wednesday, March 9, 10:00 am ET

Register Here

Mimi O’Bonsawin | Musician | FRENCH SESSION

Mimi O’Bonsawin epitomizes the powerful scenery of Northern Ontario and the beauty of its waters through her music, all the while yielding to her French Canadian and Abenaki roots. Her musical creations flow through a centre of love, with the intention of giving back and spreading awareness.

Her album, ELLE DANSE, is a self-produced French EP that has been gaining momentum with placements on Spotify, Amazon, and Apple Music curated playlists. ELLE DANSE was in ELMNT FM’s top 10 Best Albums of 2020, and it was recently nominated for two prizes at the TRILLE OR Awards.

When: Tuesday, April 5, 1:00pm ET

Register Here


Highlighting your ReconciliACTIONS


James Morden Elementary School students created art and reflection pieces on residential schools and Chanie’s story.

Students at James Morden Elementary in Niagara Falls, Ontario took part in an Ask, Imagine, Design, Build, Reflect, and Share project where they were asked “what do we know about residential schools?” while viewing The Secret Path. Students then communicated their ideas and understanding surrounding Chanie’s story and residential schools through an art piece and a written reflection. Once completed, a display was created to share their learnings with the rest of the school.


Join your Regional Educator Advisor Committee

Our Educator Advisory Committees meet four times throughout the school year to help improve the Legacy Schools program and guide the work DWF is doing. To apply, please complete the form below:

Apply Here


June events are happening! Send us your ReconciliACTIONs


We are busy planning our Indigenous History Month (IHM) digital programming for June. This year we are highlighting regions in Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick, and centering the programming on the themes of reflection, honour, and commitment. The month will end with our National Celebration Special!

We would like to invite Legacy Schools to participate in this year’s programming and to celebrate your reconciliACTIONs. We love to share what our Legacy Schools are doing, so submit your reconciliACTION by March 15, 2022 for a chance to be featured!

Submit Yours Here


Share your ReconciliACTIONs on social media

We love seeing the change you’re making – and so does the DWF community! Share your photos and tag us on social media @downiewenjack and we’ll try our best to share with our networks.

February 2022 Newsletter

From applications opening up to the 2022 Youth Ambassador Program to exciting employment opportunities, here are just a few of the things we are working on at DWF!


Youth Ambassador Program: Coming this summer!

Youth Ambassador Program hosted virtual meetings in August 2021.We are happy to announce that the DWF Youth Ambassador Program will be taking place July and August of 2022. The program will engage and connect two groups of 50 Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth throughout Canada, aged 16-25, and is an opportunity to gain practical work experience, and develop leadership skills. While learning about Canada’s true history, youth will develop their understanding of what reconciliation means to them, how to apply it in their communities, and become leaders of positive change. Learn more about the program and how to apply below.

Apply to the 2022 Youth Ambassador Program


Legacy Schools: ReconciliACTIONs

Dot paintings created by students at Eastglen High School, inspired by Métis beadwork and dot painting.Art students from Eastglen High School in Edmonton, Alberta explored the tradition and history of Métis beadwork by examining the unique features found in traditional and contemporary Métis beaded art. The Floral Stories Project was created by two Edmonton Public School First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Cultural Consultants Rebecca Pickard, from Lac La Biche Metis Community, and Athena McKenzie, from Lac Ste Anne Métis Community. The project was then led by Kristen Miller, a member of Nacho Nyak Dun First Nation.They each created dot paintings — an emerging Métis artform based on the principles and aesthetic of beading. Their compositions were inspired by their own connection to the land through memory, exploring plants that they are familiar with or that had a personal narrative attached to them. Additionally, students were gifted with the teaching of Grandfather Rock before being given their rocks to paint on.


We’re hiring! Artist Ambassador Coordinator & Event Associate

We’re hiring! Join a passionate team working to move reconciliation forward throughout Canada. Please share widely with folks you know who may be interested!

Artist Ambassador Coordinator

The Artist Ambassador Coordinator will build relationships with Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, along with athletes, speakers, ambassadors, educators, and partners, and have a meaningful impact in schools throughout Canada. This role will work closely with Artist Ambassadors and act as a representative of DWF in public facing events and engagements.

Read More

Events Associate

We are also hiring an Events Associate! This person will get to plan and launch virtual, in-person, and hybrid events at DWF. The Events Associate will also be responsible for liaising with key internal and external stakeholders and speakers, producing and reviewing marketing and promotional collateral, and ensuring smooth run-of-show on an exciting and growing portfolio of events that move reconciliation forward at both a national and local level.

Read More

New Year, New Ideas for Legacy Schools!

A new year brings new ideas and inspiration. Our reconciliation journey is far from over, and there’s no better way to get inspired than to share ideas with one another. In December, Legacy Schools educators and leaders gathered online from various places in Canada to share the work they’ve been doing and to ask questions about how they can do this work in meaningful ways. We dedicated this newsletter to sharing those ideas, and we hope it continues to inspire the change needed in schools, groups, and communities to make Canada the place it should be.


Sharing Circle Ideas & Resources: Elementary Classes

Sarah Mazzei and her grade 6/7 students held a fundraiser for DWF last spring.

Sarah Mazzei, Grade 6/7 Teacher, Ridgeway Elementary, North Vancouver, BC and DWF Educator Advisor hosted our first Virtual Sharing Circle in December for elementary-level teachers and leaders. Sarah’s presentation delved into the journey her classroom has taken as part of the Legacy Schools program. Here are some of the ideas she suggests for enhancing your classroom:

Create a wholistic, interdisciplinary unit that:

  • Celebrates Indigenous cultures,
  • educates students about residential schools through Chanie Wenjack’s story,
  • and empowers students to take action towards reconciliation.

It was recommended to find Indigenous guest speakers, books, videos, and other materials that have been created by Indigenous people to include in your lessons.


Lean on Your Own Strengths

St. Bonaventure Elementary School, Brampton, ON students made a mural entitled “We Now Know”.

In younger grades, you can use colour, symbols, and images to break down themes in different songs within the Secret Path. Sarah suggested a variety of ways you can use the Secret Path in your classroom, such as poetry, a graphic novel, musical album, film, or artwork.

 

Lessons focused on colour, symbolism, and images were shared, as well as the four part story wheel, and a mixed media project based on George Littlechild and Jane Ash Poitras.She suggested adding the Learning Principals Poster to your classroom wall.You can also map Chanie’s Journey with your students. Lessons and worksheets are available here thanks to Sarah.

Pictured here are the mainstay books Ms. Devlin uses when talking with young children.Colleen Devlin, a K/1 teacher at Ecole Puntledge Park in Courtenay BC shared how she incorporates residential school teachings into the classroom for very young students. Read her piece, Every Child Deserves to Feel Loved: Teaching young children about residential schools.

Legacy Schools Resources by Grade

Elementary: Resources for Schools

Here are some resources that you can use as part of your teaching:

Recommended Books:

Last fall, kindergarten teacher Sabrina Donamo, from James Short Memorial in Calgary, AB shared her experience with very young students and how they connected with Chanie during their Walk for Wenjack.Planning your Walk for Wenjack | Downie Wenjack Fund (@ 15:42min)


How does a non-Indigenous teacher incorporate an Indigenous perspective?

Having someone who is Indigenous and knowledgeable to introduce these topics is helpful. If your school board or district has an Indigenous education department you can contact them for assistance. Using lessons, resources, books, documentaries, and films by Indigenous content creators is an easy way to bring Indigenous voices to the youth you are working with.Doing things in a careful and educated manner is imperative and taking the steps to ensure Indigenous perspective is included in every classroom is so important. We all need to take these steps to be inclusive otherwise youth will never learn.ImagineNATIVE offers an amazing guide that provides cultural principles, and best practices for filmmakers, and production companies when depicting Indigenous content on screen, and how communities can be collaborative partners. It’s an excellent resource that can be applied to teachers and youth leaders when including First Nations, Inuit and Métis perspective in lessons for students and youth. (Online Screen Protocols & Pathways ENFR)

Aakdehewin means bravery in Anishinabe and is represented by the bear.GC Huston in Southampton, ON created school shirts with input from Indigenous advisors to include the Seven Grandfather Teachings as part of the school’s culture. They also paint a classroom door each year with students and provide a plaque beside the door describing what the door means.Artist Ambassador, Patrick Hunter, also offers painting workshops where he teaches Seven Grandfather Teachings while painting.Our DWF LIVE sessions cover a variety of teachings and will continue with new sessions each month. Sign your class up for a camera spot to speak directly with Indigenous artists, writers, musicians, and more.


Sharing Circle Ideas & Resources: Secondary & Teens

Johna Hupfield creates an inclusive space where students feel supported, valued and can see themselves reflected, which is important in all classrooms and learning spaces. Students painted the front of the school with feathers to honour the victims of residential schools.Johna Hupfield is a high school teacher at Parry Sound High School in Ontario, and a DWF Educator Advisor. Johna hosted our first Virtual Sharing Circle in December 2021 for secondary-level teachers and leaders. She had these suggestions for teaching about reconciliation in your classroom:

  • Aim to build a better experience for students than what she had in high school (especially for Indigenous youth).
  • Show how much change can come about through hard work that comes from your heart.
  • Former students can act as role models (continuing work to support education and safe spaces).
  • Find a connection to reconciliation — for some it’s finding and recognizing who you are.
  • Rethink graduation ceremonies to be inclusive of local Indigenous culture.
    • When youth graduate, local women bead and provide a feather for the graduating students.
  • During periods of remote learning “language bundles” were provided to students which included masks, a hat, stickers, writing book, their own language manual, and language book.

Check out their student Instagram for highlights of the impressive work being done. Saugeen Senior School staff and students joined the sharing circle to speak about making their new Reconciliation Hall. They highlighted:

  • Having material items and information displayed so guests understand the importance of local Indigenous culture in their school and community.
  • The hall started with a table which was made by construction students and painted by students with alumni and Artist Ambassador Emily Kewageshig’s guidance.
  • This is not linear work, there is a need to ensure all information is accurate, so it will continue to evolve and grow as more is be added and included.
  • Indigenous staff and students feel represented in their school now; it feels good to walk in and show the space to others.
  • It was important to pay students for their work.
  • There were concerns about making sure everything was correct so they continue to work with Elders, Knowledge Keepers and community.

Here is a link to the opening of Reconciliation Hall.

Scott Garbe from County Day School was also present and shared the work they’ve done through art and drama. Their script Ahead by a Century is free for Legacy Schools to use in their own productions. Here’s the Short Doc about the production. Their most recent play focuses on the environment.Shannon Agowissa shared the work their school is doing as a new sign-up to the Legacy School program. She hosted a PD session for schools in her district.

Students at Sioux Mountain Public School create animals that would have accompanied Chanie on his journey.Harriet Visitor, DWF Board member and Chanie Wenjack’s niece, joined both the senior and elementary sessions to learn more about the amazing work that is happening and share what she is doing in her own classroom.Harriet teaches elementary students and always connects students’ understanding to empathy and caring. One of her lessons focuses on asking the students if Chanie was alone on his journey. When they realize he was not, and that many animals were there with him, students get to explore the relationships between nature and people. Students then create clay animals which lead into lessons on the Seven Sacred Grandfather teachings.Classroom Pen PalsIf anyone would like to contribute to a Pen Pal program, Ms. McBean’s grade 7/8 class in Calgary, AB would love to connect with other Legacy School students in different parts of Canada. If you’d be interested in having your class share their reconciliation journey with another school, let us know and we’ll be happy to connect you.


Secondary: Resources for Schools

Recommended Books:


Upcoming DWF Live & Events

 

Waubgeshig Rice | Author and JournalistWaubgeshig Rice is an author and journalist originally from Wasauksing First Nation. He’s written three works of fiction, most recently the national bestseller Moon of the Crusted Snow. He lives in Sudbury, Ontario with his wife and two sons.February 24th, 1pm ET

Register here


Send us your ReconciliACTIONS

We love seeing and sharing what Legacy Schools are doing all the time! Send us your reconciliACTIONs for a chance to be featured in our ReconciliACTION guidebook, in next year’s Legacy School materials and other DWF communications!

Submit Yours Here


Share your ReconciliACTIONS on social media

We love seeing the change you’re making – and so does the DWF community! Share your photos and tag us on social media @downiewenjack and we’ll try our best to share with our networks.

Every Child Deserves to Feel Loved. Teaching young children about residential schools.

By Colleen Devlin, teacher Aboriginal K / 1 Program at Ecole Puntledge Park, Courtenay, B.C.

Colleen Devlin is the Indigenous teacher for K/1 programming at École Puntledge Park, a Legacy School in Courtenay, B.C. She has been doing amazing work with younger children in teaching them about residential schools from an early age, creating a safe space for these important conversations.  

After DWF’s first virtual sharing circle, Colleen was kind enough to share her article with us so we could share it with other early primary teachers. It was originally shared within her school district along with a mini workshop to give primary teachers enough knowledge and courage to teach this important topic to their students. Colleen is happy to share her article further as she said, “the more educators feel comfortable teaching this topic, the more our kids learn.”  


Walking for Wenjack at Ecole Puntledge Park with young students provides opportunities to talk and ask questions.

Canada’s true history with residential schools is a topic mandated in the B.C. curriculum for every grade including kindergarten. Given the difficult subject matter, it is important for educators to take time for self-care after teaching lessons on the topic, whether it is going for a walk on the beach or talking with a friend or family member over a coffee break. When starting to teach about the subject, it is important to start by doing some background work – know which of your students  are in foster care or who may be having a difficult time, so you know who might need extra attention and care. Remember this is not ancient history – the last residential school closed in 1997. This article is a good resource that has some great early primary books, art projects, and ways to weave in kindness and generosity to structured lessons. 

We are constructing the building blocks of knowledge for further study in the upper grades. The history of residential schools is difficult to discuss for anyone, however it is especially challenging when talking to youth. Pictured here are the mainstay books I would use when talking with children.  

Amik Loves School is a gentle story. As you read it you could say, “Imagine if the Elder you know (the Ni’noxsola assigned to your school) couldn’t share her culture language or special songs with us because she wasn’t allowed to do so when she was at school. For some people this happened in schools like the one in this book.” Unless the class has more questions, I would leave them with that thought.  

With Shi Shi Etko, many pages lead to further discussion about the land and rich culture which allows you to invite children to think of what they would gather from their favourite places, and what memories they enjoy with their grand parents or important people in their lives. As Starleigh Grass says, “We will never understand the richness of what was taken away for seven generations unless we deeply understand the value First Nations place on land stewardship and multi-generational learning.”  

A brand-new book called The Train, is a special reflection of those who attended residential schools, as a Survivor visits a place with important but sad memories of relatives and friends that never came back. It is gentle and full of love, despite the challenging subject matter and personal story.  

Throughout of all our lessons, conversations, and art projects, we reassure children that they are loved – loved by their families, their people at school, and in the community. 

As you can see, these are all small steps; for the most part, I like to let the children take the lead by asking questions. Be prepared for some questions that come later as the students process the lesson. Parents may also have questions; in which case they can be referred to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation website. 

Doing an art project after these discussions gives you a chance to circulate and check in on each child. Painting rocks or making orange handprints, making a Heart Garden with each heart bearing a special message to Survivors written by each child could help the kids connect with the material. The other art idea (pictured here) was inspired by George Littlechild – he had the class brainstorm feelings about going to residential school and being away from family. The children then choose a photo to add to their painting – very powerful.

George Littlechild had the class brainstorm feelings about going to residential school then they choose a photo to add to their painting.

Interweaving themes of love and compassion will help the children feel like they can enact change – Monique Gray Smith has beautiful books that help teach about kindness and generosity. Young students know what social justice is – they may be moved to actions like baking cookies for a soup kitchen or making donations to a local Indigenous organization. It is through these actions that we all bring about change for our future. 

Remember to prioritize your own  self-care. Indigenous Education Departments can also suggest books and lessons for you to support your teaching.  

Check out the Legacy Schools resources for more ideas as well. 

Check our calendar of events for our next virtual sharing circle 

2021: A Year in Review

Reconciliation is a collective journey with no clear endpoint and this year has further demonstrated how important that journey continues to be.

We would like to thank everyone who took reconciliACTION in 2021 and joined us on this journey to foster meaningful relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Here is a snapshot of how we built awareness, education, and made connections to move reconciliation forward this year.


Taking Over National Airwaves: A Day to Listen

In recognition of National Indigenous History Month, DWF joined together with Bell Media, Corus Entertainment Inc., Rogers Sports & Media, Stingray Radio, and more in an unprecedented collaboration to amplify and learn from Indigenous voices with A DAY TO LISTEN.

On June 30, 2021, with more than 500 radio stations participating, DWF took over national airwaves to share stories from Indigenous leaders, residential school Survivors, Elders, artists, and teachers throughout the day.

The collaboration won Best Community Service Initiative at the Canadian Radio Awards.

LISTEN NOW


198+ Teams Walked for Wenjack

October 21st, 2021, Grade 3 to 5 students at Yarmouth Elementary School in Southwest Nova Scotia participated in their first Walk for Wenjack.

This year, more than 198 teams across the country Walked for Wenjack, including students and educators from over 90 schools, with 27,040 total participants from all but two provinces and territories. Students learned about Chanie’s story and the residential school system and raised $117,185 between September 14, 2021 and November 1, 2021 – nearly doubling our $60,000 goal!

LEARN MORE ABOUT WALK FOR WENJACK


20+ Virtual Events as Part of Secret Path Week

With the help of our friends at Exploring by the Seat of your Pants, DWF hosted more than 20 virtual events throughout Secret Path Week and broadcasted in schools across the country. Over 91,000 youth registered for these educational events, which included interactive talks with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Elders, leaders, artists, musicians and more.

WATCH VIRTUAL EVENTS HERE


‘Reconciliation Begins with You’ Video Series

 

Paddling on Both Sides by Blake Angeconeb

Beading Together by Corrina McKay

Snowshoe Teachings by Lucia Laford

We Need to Talk by Alina Pete

During Secret Path Week, DWF released four powerful videos from emerging Indigenous visual artists in collaboration with Justin Stephenson, director and animator of the Secret Path, and other artistic collaborators, including Buffy Sainte-Marie, Humble the Poet, Eekwol, and Isaac Murdoch. The Reconciliation Begins with You video series educates us and raises awareness of the need for reconciliation.

WATCH THE SERIES


Legacy Schools Program Expanded

Our Legacy Schools Program expanded dramatically in 2021, with a total of 5245 active educators and 4438 schools and clubs involved across the country. We also distributed 1548 toolkits and 2698 boosters kits of new and updated resources to help educators continue engaging students and school staff about Indigenous Peoples, residential schools, and the true history of Canada.

LEARN MORE ABOUT LEGACY SCHOOLS


Legacy Spaces Expanded

We have been so inspired by the ongoing commitment of our Legacy Spaces partners and are proud to announce that we have welcomed thirteen new organizations to the program since January! Here are just a few of the accomplishments from our partners in the last year:

  • IG Wealth Management was one of the first companies to create a Legacy Space, signing on in September of 2017. This year, they became the first partner to renew their five-year commitment to representing and celebrating Indigenous perspectives in their workplace. In honour of the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, they hosted Perspectives on ReconciliACTION, a virtual event featuring Mike Downie, William Prince, Billy Alexander, and Lori Campbell.
  • From June to September of this year, Union Station hosted an exhibit in their West Wing concourse entitled Reconciliation Begins With You. The large-scale photography installation showcased DWF’s programming and events and was viewed by an estimated 200,000 travelers each day.
  • The Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre in Barrie, Ontario launched the first Legacy Space in a healthcare setting. Part of the Legacy Space installation is on wheels, allowing it to travel throughout the hospital to engage with visitors, staff, and patients.
  • The Legacy Space inside Halifax City Hall was the site of several meetings to discuss removing a local statue of Edward Cornwallis and the renaming of Cornwallis Park. The land was officially renamed ‘Peace and Friendship Park’ after local treaties and features the first sign in Halifax with Mi’kmaq translation and hieroglyphs.

We would like to officially welcome our newest Legacy Spaces partners, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and theturnlab!

LEARN MORE ABOUT LEGACY SPACES


15,284 Took the 215+ Pledge

This year, many people in Canada learned for the first time of the horrors of residential schools as news broke of the recovered remains of 215 children buried at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. Since then, many more graves have been recovered and more searches are underway. The number “215” is a symbol of the start of these recoveries and this movement.

In response, DWF launched the 215+ Pledge, which included reflections for the children who died in Canada’s residential schools, focused around the Five Stages of Grief.

15,284 people took the 215+ Pledge. The campaign included advocacy tools to engage your local Member of Parliament and elected officials, as well as curated recommended resources to continue your learning journey.


National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

In June, the federal government announced the creation of a new statutory holiday known as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to be recognized on September 30 each year. This day fulfills the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call-to-Action #80 and serves as a day of remembrance and reflection.

To recognize the day, DWF President and CEO, Sarah Midanik, hosted a discussion to explore this new day of reflection, what it  means for reconciliation in Canada, and how we can participate meaningfully.

WATCH THE PANEL DISCUSSION


Expanding the Artist Ambassadors Program

In 2019 we piloted the Artist Ambassador program with seven Artist Ambassador visits to high schools. July Talk’s Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay as well as Tyler Shaw were some of the first who visited Carson Graham Secondary School in North Vancouver, BC and Tyler Shaw at Sir Fredrick Banting School in London, ON.

This year, the Legacy Schools High School Artist Ambassador program expanded to include over 70 artists, scientists, writers, and musicians. The program brings Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists into high schools across Canada to inspire leadership and promote the journey of reconciliation. Through their work, artists were able to engage students in conversations about reconciliation.

MEET THE ARTIST AMBASSADORS


Building the Youth Ambassador Program

This year, DWF created the Youth Ambassador program in partnership with RBC Future Launch. Throughout the 4-week leadership training program, 50 Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth from across Canada gained practical work experience, learned about Canada’s true history with residential schools, and became champions of reconciliation in their communities. Check out this feature on CityNews!

Next summer, we’ll be expanding the program to 100 Youth. Keep an eye out in the new year on how to apply!

SEE YOUTH AMBASSADOR HIGHLIGHTS