Journey to Reconciliation

For my Journey to Reconciliation project I chose to do a quote poster. It has the word Survivor in bold letters in the center surrounded by quotes from residential school survivors. The text colour for the quotes are in red which symbolizes the blood and pain that these survivors went through during their time at residential schools. The names of the people who said these quotes are in bold black letters to symbolize them as people. I think it is important for us to recognize their names and them as individuals instead of just part of the Indigenous community. I also chose to have them in bold because I found that they were very traditional European names rather than traditional Indigenous names. When I thought about these names it made me emotional because they were stripped of everything from their traditional lives, including their names.

            When searching for quotes I came across many painful stories that were shared. Even reading them you could feel the pain behind the words and the pain that they were still going through years after being removed from residential schools. The suffering and abuse that Indigenous people were put through at these schools and the effects after returning home are heartbreaking. I wanted to showcase these stories of many survivors and I thought the best way to do that was to use their stories directly. I wanted to showcase names and individual stories rather than generalizing it into one picture or a couple words. These people went through so much at these places and it is so important to listen to their stories of pain before we can even try to move towards reconciliation.

            In my own education I did not learn about these stories. It was very generalized and almost brushed over. By showcasing these stories I want to show other people with the same type of education as me that we can still do our part of listening to these stories that the education system failed to show us. I strive to be an educator that shows the history the way it is. While it is a tough topic that is full of heartbreak it is important that it is shown in full accuracy. It was a tragic time full of abuse and pain, and that is what should be taught.

            The only way to make a step in the right direction towards reconciliation is by first understanding the history. We must understand and listen to these stories, we must feel the pain, and we must get angry about it. I believe it is important that we look at these stories and quotes educate ourselves with what happened at residential schools. When we ourselves are more educated, we can more productively educate future generations. When more people are properly educated on residential schools then we can begin to reconcile for the suffering, abuse, and pain that was done to the Indigenous people.

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