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Students invite Board of Education on their journey to reconciliation
Published Wednesday, May 8, 2019 6:51PM CST
It’s the power of reconciliation that has brought students, staff and the community together at F.W. Johnson Collegiate.
Students have spent the 2019-20 school year dedicating their learning to reconciliation, honouring Treaty 4 and bringing Indigenous elements into their daily education. Two student leaders presented their journey to the Board of Education on Tuesday evening.
“They are very attuned to where they are in the reconciliation journey, and knowing that everyone’s journey is different,” Shannon Fayant, Principal of Johnson said of the students.
Fayant is new to Johnson this school year, and said treaty education and knowledge of collective history is paramount when moving toward reconciliation.
“At the start of the year we decided to bring in some Indigenous perspective, knowledge and teachings,” Fayant said.
As part of their daily education, students have culminated activities that include Indigenous themes and practices. During outdoor school, the students worked teachings from elders, sage picking and smudging into their education. Students will hold a Treaty 4 flag raising on May 22.
Recently, the students travelled to Standing Buffalo, where they spent time learning from elders.
“The first step of reconciliation is deciding that things need to change,” Isaic Walter, grade 11 student at Johnson said. “And that’s what I did, when I started my journey with Ms. Fayant.”
In the classroom, students have taken up ribbon skirt making and have gained an understanding for powwows and the protocol of attending them. Residential school education has also been offered to the community through film screenings at the school.
Sabah Shirif is a grade 11 student who, with her family, moved to Canada as refugees three years ago from Syria. She said when she first arrived in Canada, she heard many negative stereotypes about Canada’s Indigenous people.
She said she learned that the negative stereotypes are untrue, and references the classes visit to Standing Buffalo.
“The Elder there opened his house to us,” Shirif said. “It was such a wonderful feeling to be in the land, and how he just trusted us, it was incredible.”
Shirif said she feels connected to Indigenous peoples experience after growing up in Syria, and wants to make the change to stand up for reconciliation.
With files from CTV Regina's Creeson Agecoutay.