MPSJ Residential School Awareness Initiative
Micheal Power/St Joseph's Grade 12 drama class created a powerful awareness piece on the Residential school system with creative movement, choral speaking, spoken word, mask work, monologues and song. Debwewin: Honouring the Truth created an awareness of the cultural genocide of Indigenous people by the Residential School System in Canada.
In these Residential schools, education was used to force assimilation, deny rights and silence the voices of seven generations of Indigenous people. Debwewin was a dramatic Showcase that used education to speak the truth, honour the stories of survivors, and work towards Reconciliation. Students did extensive research and based their work on stories of survivors. We chose to entitle our piece Debwewin because it is the Anishnaabemowin (Ojibwe) word for TRUTH and one of the languages the system sought to obliterate.
"Education is what got us into this mess — the use of education at least in terms of residential schools — but education is the key to reconciliation...We need to look at the way we are educating children. That's why we say that this is not an indigenous problem. It's a Canadian problem." - Justice Murray Sinclair
The path to reconciliation between individuals, organizations and a nation as a whole, is about creating a better Canada. It is about creating a Canada where Indigenous ceremonies, languages and cultures are celebrated, honoured and treasured; where all stand equal in opportunities for success; where Indigenous knowledge is revered; and where the brutality of racism, discrimination and prejudice is silenced.
MPSJ senior drama students continue to honour the TRUTH and work towards Reconciliation.
Ms. Jennifer Giancola and the Grade 12 Michael Power/St Joseph Drama Class.