• Miss Gordon

Journey to Reconciliation

In ECS 100 this semester, we were assigned to create an aesthetic representation that provided us with a learning opportunity to further explore topics within reconciliation.

Below I have attached my aesthetic representation along with my write up. Enjoy!

After viewing the documentary Muffins for Granny, I have developed a new knowledge from the survivors of residential schools. During my past 18 years of public school, the topic of residential schools briefly was skimmed across. Residential schools were something in my education that I wish were spoken about more often as it would have allowed me to understand the First Nations culture at a deeper level. Since I began my journey of University to become a future educator the topic of reconciliation had been prominent in many of my courses. I have been very grateful for this opportunity to expand my knowledge. The content from ECS 100 has allowed me to become educated on the horrors of residential schools. This course has allowed me to understand the awful past of the First Nations peoples therefore in my future education journey I plan to tie Indigenous people's culture into my teachings.

Viewing Muffins for Granny allowed me to hear the stories from those who attended residential schools and how they continue to suffer the repercussions. These residential schools have left heartbreaking effects on Indigenous people in our country and the world today. When the residential school survivors shared their stories in Muffins for Granny, all I could think of was how horrible the treatment of First Nations people was. These children were ripped away from their homes, their language was taken from them, their names were replaced with numbers, and some were abused and raped. The treatment of the Indigenous people was inhumane. As a white Canadian, I believe it is my duty as a future educator to inform myself of the pain First Nation students and families have gone through. I believe being educated on Indigenous people's past education journey will allow myself as a future educator to be compassionate in my teachings. Everyone is affected by residential schools and calls to action are important.

For my Journey to Reconciliation aesthetic representation, I decided to go off a story told by an elder. Elder, Joy Thomas shared a story of when he as a child. He began by sharing that he was playing with birds and he took one away from its nest to show his grandfather. When his grandfather had seen what he had done to the bird he demanded he put him back where he belongs. This story has remained prominent to me throughout this documentary as I believe the bird being taken away from its natural habitat is similar to when the First Nations children were taken from their homes to attend residential schools. This story has impacted me and the way I now understand the First Nations culture. Between the year of 1870 and 1996, approximately 150,000 children attended residential schools. A great number of these residential school survivors struggle with PTSD (post-traumatic stress syndrome). This story shares how residential schools truly damaged the First Nations people. The damage to the First Nations people greatly affects how they live today. Small things such as taking a bird from its nest could trigger the pain and damage they experienced. This is just one of the many examples and situations that triggers pain to the First Nations people.

My painting represents the loss of culture the First Nations experienced through residential schools. The empty nest represents the First Nations children being ripped away from their homes and culture to attend residential schools. The falling feather is colored in the traditional colors of the First Nations medicine wheel to represent their loss of culture. Throughout my painting, I have included splattered marks in the medicine wheel colors representing that their culture was demolished.

I couldn’t imagine being thrown into an environment that I could not understand or comprehend what was being said. I can’t even think about being taken from my family because it sickens me. After hearing these stories shared in Muffins for Granny I am truly at a loss of words for my sorrow for the First Nations people and those affected by residential schools. The unfair treatment of Indigenous people in our country then, and today is unfair. We as Canadians must acknowledge our truth and move forward learning alongside in a respectful manner.