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In this collaborative painting, the Manitoba artists chose the Turtle because it represents truth, which is necessary for a peaceful life. Catterie Wood, Jade Larocque, Journey Irvine .

The Turtle paintings - Imagine a Canada art by Catterie Wood, Jade Larocque, Journey Irvine (Fluttering Butterfly Girl), Grade 7 Gonzaga Middle School, Winnipeg, Man.

Imagine a Canada – through the lens of Reconciliation

May 29, 2018 — 

What can Reconciliation look like in Canada?

Enter Imagine a Canada, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR)’s art and leadership program, which asked students across Canada to share their vision of the country’s future through the lens of Reconciliation.

More than 450 submissions were made from students who explored their creative sides, producing artwork from paintings to poetry for the program, now in its third year. NCTR friends and partners from across the country helped review the submissions, with one honouree from each province and territory selected to attend the Imagine a Canada leadership workshop and national celebration from May 30 to June 1, 2018 in Winnipeg.

“Collectively, we want to look into the future of Reconciliation, and youth deserve to be a part of this visionary exercise,” says Kevin Lamoureux, education lead at NCTR.

As education is a cornerstone of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action, the NCTR developed Imagine a Canada to educate – and inspire – Canadian youth through art. In creating the art, either alone or with their schools or classrooms, students learned about assimilation policies, Residential Schools and their legacy, exploring both the past and the shared journey into the future.

One student spoke to her grandfather, a Residential School Survivor, about his experience for the first time, and crafted paintings representing the past and the vision of Reconciliation through her family’s healing process. Another student produced digital art telling a story of the resiliency of youth, especially Two-Spirit and other Indigenous members of the LGBT2SQ+ community. A different drawing depicted the richness of diversity within Canada supporting and bringing the nation together.

“The vision of Canada presented by these youth gives us a powerful window to the future they want to see – a world based on respect, mutual recognition and revitalized Indigenous languages, cultures and identities,” says Ry Moran, director of the NCTR. “Realizing this vision demands our attention. It is our collective responsibility to ensure young people have the opportunity to realize their dreams of a better, healthier country.”

Alberta - Imagine a Canada art from Damon Nicolet, Grade 10, St. Joseph Catholic High School, Grand Prairie, Alta.

Imagine a Canada art from Damon Nicolet, Grade 10, St. Joseph Catholic High School, Grand Prairie, Alta.

The workshop and celebration will offer honourees the opportunity to work with Elders, Survivors and Winnipeg students to learn and discuss how Canada can make Reconciliation happen. Honourees will also participate in traditional ceremonies at the Turtle Lodge International Centre for Indigenous Education and Wellness in Sagkeeng First Nation.

All of these experiences are intended to help develop a shared declaration on moving toward Reconciliation the youth can commit to and share with their respective communities.

“This is really a snapshot in history of what youth envisioned Reconciliation could be in 2018,” says Lamoureux. “Survivors gave us the gift of Reconciliation, and education can give us the tools to make it happen.” 

For more information about Imagine a Canada, visit https://education.nctr.ca/#imagine.

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is the permanent home for all statements, documents, and other materials gathered by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. The Centre has the responsibility to share these truths in a respectful way and work with Indigenous and non-Indigenous educators, researchers, communities, and decision-makers that fuels the ongoing work of Reconciliation across Canada and beyond. The NCTR is located at the University of Manitoba and works in partnership with a wide variety of agencies and organizations to advance Truth and Reconciliation in Canada.

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