More Than One Day: Commitment to Truth & Reconciliation Must be Meaningful & Sustained

Posted by Admin on October 25, 2021 at 4:02 PM

Classroom libraries showcasing Indigenous perspectives.

Addressing Linden’s Board of Trustees on September 30th, 2021, Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Linden Co-Founder Eleanor Moore said, “We must enable (our students), in partnership with our First Nations, to travel the pathway of reconciliation. Aspirations and words must translate into learning and actions.”

Linden’s Grade 5 students led the school in honouring this historic day by sharing its history and leading us in 18 minutes of reflection, one second for each child whose body was found at the sites of Canada's residential schools.

Here are a few recent and upcoming examples of Linden’s ongoing commitment to learning and action:

Meaningful Land Acknowledgement

During our Professional Development week in August, Linden faculty and staff participated in a workshop to revisit the idea of a Land Acknowledgement. Led by Hafeeza Patel, faculty and staff read and shared scholarly articles about how quickly the Land Acknowledgement has stopped being a meaningful gesture that helped to spotlight a longstanding buried history. Instead, it has become a routine, meaningless gesture that assuages “settler guilt” by allowing settlers and Canada to feel contrite and benevolent without having taken meaningful action.

Our learning is adapted appropriately for students at all levels. Working with her K-Grade 2 students, Tonja Armstrong MacInnis led them in creating a land acknowledgement that was meaningful and tied to an action. “Students delivered the land acknowledgement when we arrived at our outdoor classroom. It included movement: hands up to say thank you to the sky, and bending down to say thank you for the earth; open arms to say thank you to those around us, /friends. It was a ‘repeat after me’ to ensure that students all said something, not just one person or the teacher. Often we would ask students if they wanted to lead the land acknowledgement, so there were always different voices and small adaptations which supported the individual student in recognizing the land that we are on, and ensured that the words were meaningful, and not empty or ‘rote’.” Linden will continue to review its land acknowledgement practices.

Partnerships Honour TRC’s Calls to Action

Elementary teacher Melody Barclay and Principal Tara Silver are developing a partnership with Indigenous Scholar and Screenwriter Dr. Jennifer Brant (OISE/UT). “We are all looking forward to our collaboration with Dr. Brant,” said Tara. “The Linden School is committed to a process of teaching and learning that responds directly to the TRC’s Calls to Action #62 to #65 for policy-makers, school administrators and educators. These include the development and implementation of learning resources on Indigenous culture and current issues, teacher-training and the sharing of best-practices and building intercultural understanding. We are delighted and honored to work with Dr. Brant.”

The posters created by students during our All-School event showcasing of Indigenous resistance. Scroll down to see more posters!

All-School Event Spotlighting Indigenous Resistance

Melody and the Grade 5 students led Linden in an All-School event that turned Linden’s classroom doors into a showcase of Indigenous resistance. In the days leading up to the All School, classes learned about age-appropriate topics: K-6 students focused on a individuals, Grade 7s focused on companies, Grade 8s focused on movements for child protection related to the Millennial Scoop, and High School students focused on large environmental movements/landback movements.In a future issue of the Voice, you can read principal Tara Silver’s interview with the Grade 5 students and view more photos of the posters made by each class.

Linden Faculty Members Broaden their Expertise

For many years, Linden faculty have broadened their knowledge and understanding of Indigenous affairs and issues. Five faculty members have embarked on a Massive Open Online Course entitled Indigenous Canada offered by University of Alberta, which they will complete in June 2022. Each month, participating faculty meet to compare reflections on the course material, to plan ways to share their learning with other faculty members, and to incorporate their learning into their teaching practices and the Linden curriculum. This is one of many examples of learning that LInden faculty members have embarked on: other courses include Reconciliation through Indigenous Education at UBC.

Inclusive Curriculum 

Indigenous perspectives are well represented in Linden’s curriculum at many levels and also in classroom libraries. Examples of curriculum texts include Fatty Legs (Grade 5), The Marrow Thieves (middle school), our high school students have studied Green Grass Running Water by Thomas King and Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz. This year, Linden’s Grade 8 teachers are working with Brianne Cooper to create cross curricular connections with Linden’s art program.

We look forward to sharing more over the course of the year.

More All-School Event Posters: