Dec. 15, 2021
“I know you…” is how Grade 9 Drama students began their journey of honouring Indigenous veterans this November at Tom Baines School. In Drama, students learn that stories define us. To know someone is to know their story and the experiences that have shaped them. Weeks of researching a veteran, understanding their story, imagining their life and writing them a letter from the heart culminated in a gathering of young storytellers. On a beautiful autumn day, around a fire, Mr. Dougherty’s drama classes gathered in a circle to smudge, and link our past, present, and future into a compelling whole.
Gloria Manitopyes, a Diversity and Learning Support Advisor for Indigenous Education, led the smudge and opened our eyes, minds and hearts to the interconnectedness of all things, past and present. “What we do to the land, we do to ourselves,” she told students. While the reasons for conflict are numerous, there is only one certainty—that the only way to build peace in this world is to care, love and share our unique gifts. Each student found their place of vulnerability, spoke from the heart and shared their letter. They then placed their letter into the fire, releasing those thoughts and feelings into the universe.
What transpired with our incredible Tom Baines students was beyond curricular expectations; it was a demonstration of the quality of people who make Canada a hopeful and wonderful country.
Our students demonstrated what Truth and Reconciliation is all about as students learned about the injustice and inequality that Indigenous veterans faced upon returning home. This was truly a deep and compelling journey for our students this Remembrance Day.