Paths to Reconciliation

Education program sheds new light on history of residential schools OTTAWA, ON, Sept. 30, 2020 /CNW/ – With the 2007…

Education program sheds new light on history of residential schools

OTTAWA, ON, Sept. 30, 2020 /CNW/ – With the 2007 Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement (IRSAA) came the recognition of 139 schools attended by approximately 150,000 First Nations, Metis. This truth sent shockwaves across Canada and revealed a dark chapter in Canada’s history. Yet, this is just the very beginning of all that Canadians need to learn and acknowledge about Canada’s colonial history and the use of «education» in the attempted assimilation of Indigenous children. To raise awareness about aspects of the history of the residential school system that have yet to properly be acknowledged, The Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS) is launching the Paths to Reconciliation learning program. This unprecedented program, which includes a website and a suite of educational resources built from the first-hand accounts of residential school survivors, was funded by the Government of Canada’s Department of Heritage.

Paths to Reconciliation provides teachers and the general public with guided learning opportunities that revolve around the stories of Leah Idlout, Clara Clare and Mike Durocher, three survivors who shared the experience of being removed from their communities and forced to adopt the customs of European settlers. What sets this program apart is the inclusion of maps, personal testimonies, photographs, audio recordings and video documentation related to 61 residential schools that were not acknowledged in the IRSSA. Paths to Reconciliation offers all Canadians the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the truth about residential schools and strengthen their efforts towards reconciliation.

«Even after six years of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, the decades of survivor activism that lead to its establishment, and the thousands of survivor testimonies courageously shared to educate all of us, there is so much still to be learned and acknowledged» says Charlene Bearhead, Director of Reconciliation with the RCGS. «Paths to Reconciliation shines a light on 61 residential schools not recognized in the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement and prioritizes the experiences of the survivors of those schools. At Canadian Geographic we are honoured to serve as the conduit for sharing these sacred survivor stories and the next steps in truth seeking and reconciliation related to this still largely unknown part of our collective, colonial history.»

This program, and its planned expansion which will include additional stories and audiovisuals, gives all Canadians the foothold needed to advance reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. Paths to Reconciliation invites survivors of all residential schools, and all those forced or compelled to leave their homes in the name of colonial education, to share their own experiences and perspectives. Members of the public who wish to share their stories are invited to contact pathstoreconciliation@canadiangeographic.ca.

About The Royal Canadian Geographical Society

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society was founded in 1929 with the important mandate of making Canada better known to Canadians and to the world. Under the patronage of the Governor General, the Society has, for 90 years, led the charge towards fostering a deeper appreciation of Canada’s natural, cultural and social heritage. While best known for its iconic publication, Canadian Geographic magazine, the Society also runs a national K-12 education program, actively supports Canadian expeditions, and provides grants and scholarships for cutting-edge geographical research.

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SOURCE Royal Canadian Geographical Society