Students in the Regina Catholic School Division (RCSD) are receiving a different type of history lesson, one that aims to educate and heal.
It’s all part of RCSD’s initiatives honouring First Nations, Inuit and Metis culture, while journeying toward truth and reconciliation.
On Thursday, Grade 7 students at St. Dominic Savio School took part in a blanket exercise. Students stood on blankets outlining the shape of Turtle Island. Throughout the exercise the blankets are systematically removed or shrunk until only a few remain, reflecting how First Nations influence has been diminished over time.
“I get very connected to this exercise because I am one of the children of a mother who went to residential school,” Joanna Landry, RCSD’s First Nations, Metis and Inuit Education Coordinator, said.
“It’s just a really powerful way to teach the truth about what really happened in residential schools.”
Throughout the exercise, students learned about residential schools, assimilation, the ‘60s Scoop and murdered and missing Indigenous women. The blanket exercise and the lessons were taught by Landry and Susan Beaudin, a residential school survivor.
“That little girl in me still thinks about how it was when I was living in residential school, without anyone to love me and hug me and tell me they loved me,” Beaudin said.
“To understand our history is to understand us and who we are today. If we don’t understand each other in that deep sense, there will never be any reconciliation.”
After the exercise, students were able to share their thoughts in the sharing circle, and ask questions.
“I’m still not finished my journey of education,” Beaudin said. “I can do one small thing to help people have better lives in the future, that for me is enough.”