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Imagine a Canada – Youth Leading Reconciliation


Youth from across the country will pledge their commitment to Reconciliation at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR)’s Imagine a Canada leadership workshop and national celebration. The event will take place from May 1 to May 3, 2019 in Winnipeg and at Turtle Lodge International Centre for Indigenous Education and Wellness in Sagkeeng First Nation.

Imagine a Canada, the K-12 educational program of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), asked students across Canada to share how they can be a leader in Reconciliation, to make Canada a more just place.

The NCTR developed Imagine a Canada to educate and inspire Canadian youth through art, as education is the cornerstone of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. In creating the art, either alone or with their schools or classrooms, students learned about Canadian assimilation policies and Residential Schools and their legacy, exploring both the past and the shared journey into the future.

“Throughout the TRC we heard from Survivors that this history needs to be in the schools, and that Canada needs to be educated. Reconciliation cannot happen without the truth and it is essential for youth to be part of this conversation,” says Ry Moran, director of the NCTR.

Students explored their creative sides, producing artwork from paintings to poetry for the program. Submissions were reviewed by NCTR friends and partners from across the country, with one honouree selected from each province and territory to attend the national celebration.

Two Indigenous students from Manitoba welded a metal life size tree to honour the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada. The honouree from Saskatchewan, an intergenerational Survivor, wants to be the strong voice for Indigenous culture and her family because her grandmother, a Residential School Survivor, could not be. A group from Quebec worked with Ojibwe artist Cedar-Eve Peters to develop a mixed-media project about the importance of Indigenous people reclaiming their identity.

Ontario honouree Nescia Giangrosso, working with her classmates, created an environmentally conscious mixed-media display.

Giangrosso emphasized the importance of extending Reconciliation to the Earth. “Reconciliation is more than just reconciling our relationships with each other,” she said.

(Imagine a Canada art from Nescia Giangrosso and her Grade 3 class, Loughborough Public School, 
Sydenham, Ont.

“We need to reconcile our relationship with nimamaki (mother earth). She has loved and supported us for generations. I learned about the honourable way to harvest gifts from the earth. This awareness can significantly impact my ecological footprint, as it is my grandchildren that will carry the burdens of the decisions I make today.”

The workshop and celebration will offer honourees the opportunity to take part in traditional ceremonies and work with Elders, Survivors and Aboriginal Youth Opportunities (AYO!), a youth movement from Winnipeg’s North End.

Honourees will share and learn from each other and pledge their continued journey towards Reconciliation.

Survivors gave us the gift of Reconciliation, and the youth can lead us forward.

Click for more information about Imagine a Canada

Stay tuned this fall for the launch of the 2020 Imagine a Canada.

Feature Image art: Trinity Harry and Joseph Ginter, Grade 12, R.B. Russell Vocational 
School, Winnipeg, Man.

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“Ka-kí-kiskéyihtétan óma, namoya kinwés maka aciyowés pohko óma óta ka-hayayak wasétam askihk, ékwa ka-kakwéy miskétan kiskéyihtamowin, iyinísiwin, kistéyitowin, mina nánisitotatowin kakiya ayisiniwak, ékosi óma kakiya ka-wahkotowak.”

Cree Proverb