In this video, a group of students from southern Ontario embark on a eye-awakening journey as they visit First Nation communities in northern Ontario. Led by Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux, the students visited communities in Georgian Bay, Manitoulin Island and the north shore of Lake Huron. They conclude their trip with a visit to the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec.
I enjoyed the scene when the students expressed their frustration over the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the lack of First Nations tour guides and proper context of the artifacts held there. Earlier in the film, at the start of their trip, Karihwakeron Tim Thompson provides excellent oratory on the Hiawatha wampum and it’s significance. When they visit the museum, they are faced with that same belt with such minimal labelling, context and displayed behind glass.
In my favorite scene, without prompting, the students become irate over a plaque that describes the residential school experience: “But for other graduates, the pain of sexual abuse and cultural loss has overshadowed good intentions and practices.” They complain to the museum also citing the exhibit which outlines a simplistic and narrow view of the residential schools.
Their experience and stories they have learned in just one week led them to action.