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Project Profile

Project Title:
Voices of Today
Initiative:
Speak Truth to Power Canada, Defenders for Human Rights
School Name:
East View Public School
School board / First Nations school jurisdiction:
Algoma District School Board
Project Theme:
  • Connect [relationships]
  • Engage [active & participatory citizenship]
  • Lead [leadership]
Grade Level:
4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Subject Areas:
Aboriginal Studies, The Arts, English, Social Sciences and Humanities, Technological Education
City:
Sault Ste Marie
Province/Territory:
Ontario
Community Partners:
Kerry Grbich, Michelle Canning, Alexis McCoomb
Teachers (on behalf of East View School
Ambassadors and Character Club)
Students will engage our community partners to also get involved in their purpose of the value of human rights; of equity and inclusion for all. We will CONNECT with our Local Band members, our local Friendship Center and our city’s multicultural groups to participate in our venture.

Voices of Today

Our East View elementary school family of students, parents and staff are dedicated to promoting a positive learning environment that fosters equity and inclusion. This environment honours our school family; where we are and where we have come from. All cultures are not only accepted but celebrated at our school. Our EastView family would like to LEAD and become local defenders for human rights. We value what is just and true, our basic human rights. We would like to ENGAGE our community to further promote equity and inclusion through respect, understanding and the continued integration of our many growing unique cultural identities. It is through understanding that we will dispel stereotypes and myths and move forward with confidence to the future.

As ambassadors and defendors of human rights we will take on LEADership roles within our school and local community to help bring a positive, student-initiated focus on our First Nation culture and traditions. As a largely aboriginal population our school family celebrates the many characteristics that make us uniquely First Nation and the similarities in our cultures that bring us to common ground.
As part of our proposal we will identify and study the positive impact made by Canadian aboriginal defenders of human rights and the importance of the acheivements of Canadian aboriginal men and woman. Students will be ENGAGEd as leaders to make a positive change for their future and to be empowered by finding their own strengths that they wish to share with others. These strengths will be shared in the hope to dispel stereotypes, myths and to help others to “learn to unlearn”. Together we will then decide on both traditional and non-traditional cultural experiences that will best share these strengths through drama-music, art, dance, story telling and poetry. It is our hope to foster respect and acceptance of differences, celebrate similarities and ultimately honour what we all value- our basic human rights. Some teachings within the experiences may include the Grandfather teachings, environmental stewardship and leadership.

"All men were made brothers. The earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it.
Black Elk Oglala Sioux Holy Man, 1863-1950

What we have is because someone stood up before us. What our Seventh Generation will have is a consequence of our actions today.
Winona LaDuke, Annishnabe

The life of a person is a circle from childhood to childhood. Within each child lies our future and our past
-Anon

Update (June-30-12)

East View students and staff were very excited to be involved in this inspirational project and were proud to learn more about the importance of their culture, history and heroes. Students were enthusiastic to share commonalities of their culture with others. They quickly took ownership of their group and chose to fondly call themselves the "Culture Club". A small group of students and staff began meeting at the end of March twice a week during the second half of nutrition breaks. Student enthusiasm for the project grew so quickly that we began to meet 3-4 times a week (full break, eating lunch together) and every day for a week before our Cultural Exchange day.

The students were instrumental in deciding what they believed were the most important aspects of their culture and what they wanted others to understand. These key areas included: traditions, food, family history-clans, music, art, regalia, celebrations and ceremonies (smudging). In researching these important aspects of their culture, the students spoke with elders and extended family members in their community. Students also invited quest speakers to visit and speak about their personal understanding of their culture. These conversations opened the possibilities for a positive focus on their culture and heritage and the opportunity to share them proudly with others. While meeting, the students took on a variety of leadership roles within the group and within the school including acting as school ambassadors for our Spring Pow Wow to welcome guests.

Students worked hard to present their culture to others in a positive way. A Cultural Exchange day was set up with a neighbourhood school in order to meet with other students their age, to come together on common ground by sharing commonalities in culture and traditions. Come back soon to learn about the success of our Cultural Exchange day!