Sunday October 02, 2016 ‘This is our civil rights movement’: Teacher says learning Indigenous history only a first step


“I have to say the non-Indigenous children were so angry,” she said.

“They were so angry that … they had never learned about this before. They didn’t understand why they were being lied to. One of my favourite quotes from one of my kids was, ‘How could I be in Grade 6 and not know this? Why is this such a secret?'”

Lisa Howell
Howell is a Grades 5 and 6 special education teacher at Pierre Elliott Trudeau School in Gatineau, Que. (Submitted photo)
Armed with this new information, Howell said her students were motivated to go to other schools to share what they had learned. They even visited the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat and taught federal government employees.

Howell said it is important that Canadians learn the history, so that it is not a taboo subject to future generations.

“This is our civil rights movement,” she said. “This is a pivotal time in Canadian history where every single Canadian needs to be involved in changing the way that our history has gone. We might not be able to change the past, but how the future goes is up to us.”

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