This past week many of our Legacy Schools took part in Secret Path Week, a week-long event that is held from October 17th to October 22nd to honour the passing of Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack. Throughout the school year, and especially during Secret Path Week, we encourage our Legacy School educators and students to take part in reconciliACTIONs. These are meaningful actions that work towards reconciliation, creating awareness, learning and sharing to create strong relationships among all Canadians.
We would love to acknowledge some of the great reconciliACTIONs that have been led by Legacy Schools not only during Secret Path Week but throughout the 2020 school year. We hope their powerful actions inspire you and those around you to get involved and #DoSomething.
Range Lake North School
Thanks to Ms. Townsend for sharing what the students at Range Lake North School in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories have been up to during Secret Path Week. They started their week with a Zoom visit from author Monique Gray Smith who read her books When We Are Kind and You Hold Me Up to students followed by a discussion period. As well, all Phys Ed. classes were visited by the Aboriginal Sports Circle who taught them Northern Dene games. Throughout the week classes watched performances and met up with various artists such as Leela Gilday, Robyn Scott, and Diana Rockwell – a local student who created an original song about Chanie’s life.
Range Lake North School students and staff part took in Walk for Wenjack and held a toonie drive fundraiser. They reached their goal of raising $600 to represent the 600km that Chanie set out to walk. Their donation progression was documented on a map of the Northwest Territories, that enabled students to grasp a better understanding of the distance Chanie was trying to walk.
Lastly, for Orange Shirt Day students created fantastic posters that were displayed at the front of the school for their community to see.
Westmount Public School
At Westmount Public School in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Ms. Murdoch shared the reconciliACTIONs her class conducted in their second year as a Legacy School.
As part of their first Walk for Wenjack, her grade 6 class took great initiative in leading fundraising in order to create awareness and to take their part in making a kinder, and more understanding Canada. They created their own donation system where if you donated $1 you got your name written on a footprint, a feather when you donated $5 and a hat when you donated $10 or more. To track their donations, they created a beautiful display in their hallway for the whole school to see.
Students at Westmount School are continuing to further their education and understanding of Canada’s true history through Secret Path and many other great resources.
Sheppard Public School
Lastly, we would like to recognize Ms. Lukezich and the grade 4 and 5 students from Sheppard Public School in Kitchener, Ontario. Ms. Lukezich’s grade 4 and 5 French immersion students have been doing some amazing work in their class and school by learning about Indigenous history and culture through books. They have also found a passion about learning and bringing awareness to Indigenous rights issues through their current events unit.
During Secret Path Week, students watched several DWF LIVE sessions, such as the musical performance Leela Gilday. Ms. Lukezich’s students created some incredible posters for their Walk for Wenjack and were shown great support from community members while out on their walk. Most students wore purple during their Walk, and some even wore funky hats in honour of Gord.
To all our Legacy School educators and students, we would like to thank you for taking part in so many creative forms of reconciliACTION. Keep up the great work, and keep your passion for learning alive as you all are making a meaningful impact to making a better Canada that is greatly appreciated by all! We leave you with quotes from Ms. Lukezich and Ms. Murdoch that we should all follow;
“We continue learning all year. It’ not just for this week. Although we do a lot this week, it is not just a unit that happens one time in my class.”
“From our youngest to our oldest learners, we hope to educate each other as we look at the history of residential schools and the long-lasting impact they had and continue to have on families. The conversations are being had not only at school but at the dinner table as well.”