RECIPIENTS OF GRANTS IN SUPPORT
OF SOCIAL JUSTICE LEARNING
Ross Shep Social Justice Podcast Ross Sheppard High School, Edmonton
This program is creating awareness campaigns at the school to include the topics of women's history, labour history, LGBTQ2S+ history, black history, and Indigenous history. Students will host a monthly podcast and will invite social justice leaders into their school to inform their work. The Ross Shep Social Justice Podcast aims to create an increased sense of belonging and community for its students through learning about social justice issues.
Seven Sacred Teachings - Foundational Learning and Development Alexander Forbes the Academy School, Grande Prairie
This program is hoping to integrate the Seven Sacred Teachings into their school culture to promote awareness, support, empathy and strong character development for all students and families that are a part of their school community. To promote the Seven Sacred Teachings, the program will also invite and work with elders, and family members of students, to come forth and share their stories, knowledge, and expertise. Some of the activities provided by the program will include smudging, harvesting traditional medicines, drumming, creating dream catchers, and much more.
Healthy Eating in Our Community St. Bonaventure School, Edmonton
St. Bonaventure School is tackling the issue of healthy eating by creating a garden tower that students can use and bring back to their families to provide a little extra support. The project will also contribute to the school's mission of giving back to the community, where students will make sandwiches for those less fortunate by using produce from the garden tower. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, students were unable to fulfill their goal of making sandwiches to take down to the charity of their choice, Hope Mission. Don't worry, this is a goal they will try to achieve earlier in the year, next year!
Exploring Colonialism, Creativity and Reconciliation Through Skateboards Salisbury Composite High School, Sherwood Park
Students at Salisbury Composite High School combined skateboard art with a history lesson on Indigenous culture and colonialism in an effort to raise awareness on the discussion on reconciliation. Led by Cree artist John Cardinal, students researched Indigenous art forms to get inspiration to help with their own skateboard graphic. The program also included visits with local educator Michel Blades and community leader Joe Buffalo, where students learned about Indigenous history and how skateboarding can be used as a form of activism to inspire social change. In addition of painting their boards, students also achieved their goal of raising awareness of our colonial past by organizing an art exhibition hosted by Local 124 Skate Shop in Edmonton where they were given the opportunity to express their perspective on what they learned to visitors. To paraphrase Michel Blades, reconciliation is about relationship building and this project extended that out past the classroom, to the skate shop....the dialogue between community stakeholders within these venues and platforms was testament to the power of skateboarding and how it can be used as a call to action to forge the path to decolonization.
Student Voices: " I learned what Indigenous children went through in residential schools...where inside those buildings there was absolute destruction of their language and culture."
The Path Forward Sacred Hart School, Wetaskiwin
Students attended the Resiliency Summit on November 28-29 in Calgary, Alberta, where First Nations students were given the opportunity to come together to hear and share stories, while gathering tools to become leaders in their world. The Summit empowers First Nations students emotionally, spiritually, and socially to become the best they can be. Keynote presenter, E.J. Swampy-Omeasso, from Samson Cree Nation, had a profound effect on the students because he was from Maskwacis, where many of the students live. The Path Forward project also allows students to participate in school cultural activities such as Orange Shirt Day, National Indigenous Peoples Day, and a blanket exercise. Activities such as drumming, ribbon skirt making, beading, Cree language and Cree art are also provided during lunch hours.
Student Voices: "I really liked wellness through art and would like to start an art club"
"This made me feel good about being Cree"
"I would like to hang out and mentor little kids'
Ripples of Change A.E. Bowers Elementary School, Airdrie
This reconciliation project provided students at A.E. Bowers Elementary School a deeper understanding of Canada's history since its colonization that resulted in marginalization and discrimination acts against Indigenous peoples. "Ripples of Change" provided authentic experiences such as school and off-site visits with Elder Randy Bottle and Elder Line LaPlante, where students learned about the land that their school is on, and of the relationship between animals, land, and humans through their lens. Students engaged in multiple projects such as creating a mural of Airdrie past and present through an Indigenous lens, creating a book with properly treated animal hide covers and incorporating the Blackfoot language into its messaging, with more planned but ultimately unable to complete due to COVID-19. Museokits kits were also provided for students to examine and learn through. The program plans to continue their Ripples of Change project next year with the goal of showcasing what they have learned at their Indigenous Culture Fair.
Student Voices: " I liked the colouring and learning words in Blackfoot and French"
"I was happy I got to put down tobacco for the second time in my life. I remember putting down tobacco with Elder Randy."
"Mother Earth is called Na'a in Blackfoot"
Metis Family Night - Founding Cultures Strathcona High School, Edmonton
Strathcona's Founding Cultures Club is engaging in school-wide social justice campaigns with the aim of fostering strong connections to community while combining academic opportunities for Indigenous and non-indigenous students. 20+ students in grades 10-12 will attend the program in the 2019-2020 school year, which will provide programming that develops students life and interpersonal skills. Students will learn event planning, group facilitation, and leading sessions to provide them with an increased understanding of cultural activities and to challenge them to grow and learn. The program is also planning to host a Metis Family Night that the community can participate in and celebrate Indigeneity in our schools.
"C.C.C." - Creating Closer Communities St. Michael School, Calgary
In an effort to create intergenerational connections within their community, students partnered with a Community Extendicare Facility to help residents take care of their gardens. Students recognized that this would be an excellent way to both learn about gardening and integrate volunteer time into their schedules. Activities included having a ribbon cutting ceremony with the residents at the Extendicare facility and creating a "snow squad" to help clear snow and ice from sidewalks around the school and community.
Connecting Art and Spirituality Artist in Residence. St. Luke Catholic School, Sherwood Park
Students in grades K-8 will be working alongside Cree/Metis Artist Dawn Marie Marchand to create a quilt demonstrating Cree world views and values. The week long course will consist of students formulating their ideas in the form of a quilt square that will be collectively assembled into a large quilt. The quilt will be hung in Gallery @ 501 through the months of July and August, then returned to St. Luke's to be installed in the front foyer of the school. This quilt will also be available for loan to other schools and special events. The project aims to achieve its goal of increased understanding of Cree values and practices as they are informed by relationships with the land, plants, and animals, to understand and emphasize with Indigenous Peoples about the injustices that have and are still taking place in families and communities, and creating a visual representation that will be accessible to the community.
Student Voices: To be published after final report.
Cacao Producer Visit Olds High School, Olds
To support their work as a UNESCO Associated and a Fair Trade school, Olds High School had a visit from Don Pilar Ramirez, a Fairtrade Cacao Producer, to present to classes and after school clubs about life as a cacao farmer. Students learned how selling through the Fairtrade International System benefits their families, communities and the environment, and helps to eliminate poverty. Exploring these themes has led students to develop an awareness of global issues and how their decisions and lifestyles impact people living in the global south, allowing them to become informed and engaged global citizens. The visit also inspired students to engage in a variety of ways, including making desserts with Fairtrade cocoa, making clothing from Fairtrade certified organic cotton, and many more. In addition, students will be organizing events at their school leading up, during and following the producer visit, building their capacity as event planners and community builders.
Student Voices: "Fairtrade is so much more than just where your chocolate comes from and what it costs...I am also now trying to boycott fast fashion and I am going to try to make whatever clothes I need. Definitely a new perspective."
High School Human Rights Conference Lester B Pearson High School, Calgary
The Social Justice Student Club at Lester B Pearson High School planned a high school human rights conference in an effort to increase awareness on social justice and human rights in high school students. Students identified that one of the most prevalent issues at their school is that of division based on race and ethnicity, and came up with the idea to have a conference to allow other young people to share in their passion and activism on these issues. The conference helped educate individuals on matters of racism, gender and sexuality, workplace rights, abortion rights, and much more.
Student Voices: "The workshops helped open my eyes to human rights issues I did not know about."
"It was great to know other young people who care about these issues, too."
Stew and Bannock Indigenous Awareness Event Morinville Community High School, Morinville
Students created a stew and bannock event to raise awareness of challenges faced by Indigenous peoples as well as celebrating Indigenous culture with students who might have little exposure to the positive aspects of Indigenous culture. Students participated in preparing the stew and bannock through traditional methods, learning from guest speakers and performers, and meeting with members of the First Nations community. The project contributed to the school's mission of fostering connections with representatives of Indigenous communities to promote collaboration, and supported students in fostering a spirit of reconciliation.