“The problem with history is it’s his story, not our story,” says Tom Porter, knowledge keeper and Bear Clan elder of the Mohawk nation. He’s speaking to a group of Grand Erie educators and staff ahead of Treaties Recognition Week in Ontario, sharing some of the lessons imparted in his book, And Grandma Said, a collection of Iroquois teachings passed down through oral tradition.
Caption: Grand Erie staff with Tom Porter, front row centre
On the same day, at Brantford Collegiate Institute and Vocational School, Teacher Librarian Kate Johnson-McGregor is guiding a discussion with students visiting from James Hillier Public School. On a screen in front of them is a map of Ontario showing significant sites in treaty agreements over the past 300 years.
“What if history had been written from an Indigenous perspective?” she asks. “How might things be different?”
The first week of November is Treaties Recognition Week, a time to provide education on treaty rights, and honour the histories that weren’t always part of the curriculum.
Brantford Collegiate Institute and Vocational School was the site of a ‘Living Library’ event. Guest speakers included elder and historian David Plain and filmmaker Monica Virtue. Using an interactive map, they presented the interwoven history of European settlers to North America and the Indigenous peoples for whom Turtle Island was already home.
“So many people don’t realize how many land agreements and treaties there were, let alone how many have been broken since they were signed,” explains Plain. “Treaties Week is an important opportunity to tell the true history of the land.”
The ‘Living Library’ program brings this to life, providing students with an understanding of the country’s whole history thanks to local Indigenous elders and knowledge keepers who are invited into libraries to act as “talking books,” teaching students about treaties and our obligations in honouring treaty rights. A natural partnership between the Ontario School Libraries Association and the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, these events support the goals of active, lifelong inquiry, with an open commitment to social justice and equity.
Caption: Monica Virtue and David Plain hold a Two Row wampum
“It’s an honour to host this event and to create this space for everyone, while making visible such important issues” says Johnson-McGregor. “We are all treaty people; this is a history we’re all a part of.”
Knowledge is powerful. As part of its Multi-Year Plan, Grand Erie is committed to Equity, and Treaties Recognition Week is another means to increase the sense of belonging among all students.
Grand Erie classrooms will be highlighting Treaties Recognition Week throughout the month of November. A second Living Library event takes place at Brantford Collegiate Institute and Vocational School on November 14.
On November 11 every year we celebrate the amazing tradition at Lynndale for Remembrance day. We remember the sacrifice and the hope from the war. This year’s ceremony made the Lynndale students, teachers, and friends proud as we do every year. With the truly moving drama to the beautiful sung songs, from the speeches to the music played, this ceremony will always be an honour to those who lay down in Flanders Fields.
To begin the ceremony, two grade 8 students, Bennet Rustan and Nathan DeMontfort, talked about the war and introduced the playing of O Canada, which was played on piano by grade 8 student Victor Rustan. Every one sang their hearts out to O Canada. It was full of passion and love from everyone.
After that, Bennet and Nathan talked more about the war and announced up the Kindergarten classes to sing The Poppy Song.
The kindergartens had poppies made out of paper. The Kindergartens sung their hearts out and you could see it. All the kids tried and it was very nice. The next thing after the Kindergartens was another song sung by the grade 2/3 classes, “See the Poppies.” All the kids had actions that matched the lyrics. The two classes that sung the song went into two groups on both sides of the front of the gym. One group would sing a line then the other group would repeat the song.
After that, Bennet and Nathan began to talk about the History of Remembrance Day. They did a very good job and were inspiring to all. They told us about how Remembrance Day started and how we hope there will be peace one day in the world.
Once they were done, the grade 1 and 1/2 classes read the poem, “Peace is Not.” It was about how people can make a difference and how peace is not a big thing or word. It starts with us in our hearts. Next was 6 poems written by 8 people in the grade 6/7 class. The poems that were written were all made into drama acts that were filmed. The poems were written by Conner Koskela, Bailey Pinkney, Zack Dickson, Elizabeth Gee, Brayden Murphy with Mackenzie Synder also with Perdo Muniz, and Lauren Brown.
When the video ended, the reading of “In Flanders Fields” was read by grade 5 Connor VanNatter and Evan Pond.They read and spoke very well. Once it had finished, there was an outstanding drama production by Grade 8 students. They performed to the song “You Raise Me Up” in the background of the play. It was about how a man who had to leave his family to fight in the war and sadly died in the end.
Next, two students from each class to took up a wreath that was made by the class. The wreath looked very nice, a good job done by all the classes. While the laying of the wreath was happening, a junior choir sang to accompany the moment.
Before we ended this ceremony, we heard the traditional song (Last Post) played on the trumpet by Mrs. Reid for our moment of silence. We have Mrs. Reid do this song every year and it is and will always be great. It will always represent the pride of Lynndale School.
As we finished we heard a sound track of the song Beautiful Life by Beckon,that was played on the harmonica by the grade 2,3,4,5. They played the chorus of the song 2 times.
That concluded the ceremony.This was truly a proud day for Lynndale and Canada.
Written by Bailey Pinkney (Grade 7 Student at Lynndale)
The teachers at Lynndale having been working together to improve students' mathematics achievment at Lynndale. As part of the school improvement plan, Lynndale teachers are continually striving to improve their mathematics instruction, in order to meet the needs of all students.