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WSD students gathered at the
Canadian Museum for Human Rights Feb. 21 and 22 for the second installment of
this year’s Everybody has the Right program.
The theme for this year is
“Everybody Has the Right To Belong.” The February workshops focused on Indigenous
people and Newcomers to Canada.
Brock Corydon students led a
presentation in the morning sessions on Indigenous history, which segued into a
discussion of the Seven Teachings.
In the afternoon sessions, Daniel
McIntyre Collegiate Institute related their experiences as newcomers to Canada.
“These students will tell their
stories of being refugees…why they left and what it was like to come to Canada
with the snow, the climate and the new people,” said WSD Education for
Sustainable Development Consultant Chantelle Cotton. “They will tell how they
developed their own sense of belonging here.”
Both presentations inspired
reflections from all of the school groups in attendance before they undertook a
massive group project.
At the centre of the workshop floor
was a large map of Canada with no defined borders—a representation of how the
land existed prior to European contact.
Students created their own visual
emblems on foam stamps, which they then used to imprint their own symbols on
the map of Canada.
“If you look at this map, it has
rocks, trees, water and mountains…but it is not colonized,” Ms. Cotton said.
“In a very symbolic sense, this is a way at looking at belonging and bringing
together the stories of our time on this land.”
Students were asked to contemplate
the importance of sharing and receiving, and listening with one’s heart.
“Students here today are both
giving and receiving information, and that helps create a balanced life. You
can’t have balance if it’s just one or the other,” Ms. Cotton said.
Robert H. Smith students Thando
Saka and Amélie Haid-Essiembre said the map-making exercise brought students
from many different schools together.
“We’re making new friends, we’re
learning about new stuff and we’re working as a group,” Thando said.
“We need to learn to work with many
different people, and it is better to learn that when you are young,” added
The previous Everybody has the
Right workshop, held at the museum in November, focused on the individual and
the community. The final set of workshops, scheduled for May, will focus on