YMCA EXCHANGES

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Communities in Focus: Sandy Bay, SK and Ajax, ON |Des communautés sous la loupe : Sandy Bay, SK et Ajax, ON

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Our Youth Exchanges Canada group exchanges are in full swing for the spring, and this week, we highlight the visit we had with the students of Ajax High School, who hosted their twin group from Hector Thiboutot Community School. Among many fun-filled activities they were doing during the visit, the students of the exchange conducted a truth and reconciliation workshop with grade 8 students at two elementary schools in conjunction with Project of Heart—a program that seeks to teach, talk about and integrate the history of Canada’s First Nations through their experience in the Indian Residential School System.

Through discussion, sharing experiences (including those of some of the family members of the Cree Sandy Bay students), and reading accounts of abuse, neglect and  of First Nations children in the residential school system, everyone involved came away from the session having learned something about Canada’s history, and perhaps something about themselves in the process. As a wrap-up to the session, everyone decorated wooden tiles to create a mosaic in remembrance of those who went through the Residential School experience, “inspiring the building of relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada based on mutual understanding, respect and collective action to create a different future”.  What a colourful way to learn Canada’s history and remember it for generations to come!

A warm welcome awaiting the students of Hector Thiboutot community School at Bolton C Falby School in Ajax, ON.

A warm welcome awaiting the students of Hector Thiboutot community School at Bolton C Falby School in Ajax, ON.

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Sample tiles shown to the students before they created their own designs.

 

 

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Ajax and Hector Thiboutot students led discussions concerning the effects of life in a residential school on youth who were likely the same age.

Avec l’arrivée du printemps, les échanges du programme Échanges jeunesse Canada battent leur plein, et cette semaine, nous soulignons la visite que nous avons eu avec les élèves du Ajax High School, qui ont reçu le groupe jumeau du Hector Thiboudot Community School. Parmi les nombreuses activités amusantes qui ont eu lieu lors de notre visite, les élèves de l’échange ont animé un atelier « Vérité et réconciliation » avec des élèves de 8e année de deux écoles primaires, en collaboration avec Project of Heart, un programme qui vise à enseigner, discuter et intégrer l’histoire des Premières nations au Canada grâce à leur expérience dans les pensionnats indiens.

 

Par des discussions, le partage d’expériences (y compris celles de certains membres de famille d’élèves de Sandy Bay) et la lecture de récits sur l’abus et la négligence d’enfants des Premières nations des pensionnats indiens, tous les participants ont quitté l’atelier en ayant appris quelque chose, non seulement, sur l’histoire du Canada, mais sans doute sur eux-mêmes. Avant de conclure l’atelier, tout le monde a décoré des tuiles en bois afin de créer une mosaïque en souvenir de ceux qui ont vécu l’expérience des pensionnats indiens, « une invitation à établir des relations entre les peuples autochtones et non-autochtones au Canada en s’appuyant sur la compréhension commune, le respect et l’action collective afin de créer un avenir différent ».  Quelle meilleure façon d’apprendre sur l’histoire du Canada et de s’en souvenir pour des générations à venir!

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The complete mosaic of tiles, commemmorating those who died and survived the circumstances surrounding Indian Residential Schools.

The complete mosaic of tiles, commemmorating those who died and survived the circumstances surrounding Indian Residential Schools.

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