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.