How can we develop empathy by looking at the past?
Students will engage in a multitude of activities that have them explore, research and build an understanding of the effects of colonization on the First Peoples in Canada. Students will begin by investigating the exploration of Canada in the 15th and 16th centuries, paying particular attention to reasons for exploration. Students will engage in activities that examine the relationships between European and Indigenous People and the impact these relationships had on the First Peoples culture.
The goal of this research is to come up with questions for indigenous people in their own community. Questions may include some if not all of the following topics:
• Their understanding of the past- stories they have been told
• The ways in which they are impacted by colonization today
• Their views on the reconciliation efforts
• How they are rebuilding their culture and maintaining tradition
• Perspective about what is needed to help
The students will then interview a member in a local indigenous community in order to listen to and learn from their story.
Creation of Final Product:
The class will separate in small groups and create video segments (similar to Heritage Minutes) about their topic. The finish products will then be put together to create one video story. Video story segments include: History of Colonization; Story from a person impacted by the cultural effects of colonization; What are the reconciliation efforts in Canada? and Cultural significance of reconciling (Why should we help reconcile issues that happened in the past?).
The goal is for students to gain an understanding about how colonization has impacted Canada, the effects it has on First Peoples and why it is important to understand these issues today. Ideally different topics would be able to be covered across other curricular areas. For example: in English writing both scripts and questioning as well as exploring how to tell a story. In Christian Education, highlighting reconciliation throughout biblical history and identifying how a faith views reconciliation opposed to how a culture or country may view reconciliation of the same topic.
Our school’s mission calls us to work in community with others to serve and understand personal experiences. By interacting with every human, we are respecting all cultures. This project helps students exercise empathy and understanding of the past. By doing these students will better understand how their own actions may be perceived in the future.