The Life and Legacy of Chanie Wenjack

Credit: Macleans

Secret Path Week is a national week to remember the death of Chanie Wenjack, a young Anishinaabe boy who died trying to run away from residential school and reunite with his parents.

Chanie’s story sparked national conversation about the standards and practices of Residential Schools. During an inquest following his death, a jury of settlers created a list of recommendations for the system, bringing the practices of the schools into question. Though residential schools would continue to operate for many years, the attention to Chanie’s story was significant in the path to change.

The week was started by the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund, and promoted Gord Downie’s call to action #DoSomething, which is now met with the response of #reconciliACTION.

Participate in Secret Path week by educating yourself about Chanie’s story and the stories of other children lost to the residential school system and Survivors in your area, taking action to raise further awareness and doing something to create positive change.

Oct 17-22 #DoSomething #ReconciliACTION #SecretPathWeek

How to learn more about Chanie’s story:

Read the original story of Chanie published in 1967

Explore the story map chronicling the life of Chanie including images and video clips

Watch the Heritage Minute telling Chanie’s story

Learn the stories of the other Chanie Wenjacks

ReconciliACTION

Watch the CBC Short Doc in which Chanie’s sisters visit one classroom of fifth graders who have been taught Chanie’s story

Read about the reconciliACTIONs of schools nationwide

Teaching Resources

Download the Indigenous Languages and Secret Path resource kit from Learning Bird

Job Opening: Research and Engagement Strategist

Job ID: 35535
Location: Vancouver – Point Grey Campus
Employment Group: Management and Professional
Job Category: Research and Facilitation
Classification Title: Research and Facilitation, Level A
Business Title: RSHDC Research and Engagement Strategist
VP/Faculty: Assoc. VP Academic Affairs
Department: IRSHDC
Salary Range: $53,019.00 – $76,374.00 (Annual)
Full/Part Time: Full-Time
Desired Start Date: 18 November 2019
Ongoing: Yes
Funding Type: Budget Funded
Closing Date: 2019/10/29
Available Openings: 1
Guiding principle: “Midpoint” of the hiring salary range means the individual possesses full job knowledge, qualifications and experience.

Job Summary

Working collaboratively with the RSHDC team, the Research and Engagement Strategist coordinates initiatives, projects and events in support of engagement, research and curation activities. Creates and/or maintains partnerships with Indigenous communities, Survivors of residential school and/or intergenerational survivors to develop collaborative projects and initiatives, identify priorities and materials/records. Coordinates research and engagement initiatives at the Centre as well as with communities, schools, post-secondary institutions and UBC partners.

Collaborates on content and aids in designing and carrying out research strategies, scope and goals. Participates in ongoing project planning, research development and execution. Investigates funding sources and works collaboratively with RSHDC team to develop, compose, edit and proof funding applications and reports.

Conducts research into the resources and records related to the Residential School System in Canada and its legacies directly with community members.

Organizational Status

Reports to the Assistant Director of Research and Engagement at the Residential History and Dialogue Centre (RSHDC), or designate. Works closely and in collaboration with the Assistant Director, RSHDC team, community and academic partners/stakeholders, and related research and archives staff at other institutions.

Work Performed

  • Works directly with Indigenous community members and communities to develop collaborative research collections and initiatives;
  • Coordinates engagement activities at the RHSDC for visiting individuals or groups, Survivors, families, school groups and UBC faculties, departments and/or partners in collaboration with RSHDC Education and Programming Strategist;
  • Works directly with Survivors and intergenerational survivors of residential schools responding to requests for information and/or towards the development of ongoing RSHDC initiatives;
  • Collaborates in developing resources for RSHDC lessons, workshops and/or conferences;
  • Works collaboratively with RSHDC and various partner organizations to organize events,dialogues and conferences;
  • Provides talks and/or is able to host events including public speaking engagements, groupfacilitation and/or workshops;
  • Identifies relevant methodologies in Indigenous studies, trauma-informed memoryinstitution studies to inform RSHDC content and strategies;
  • Collaborates on and/or writes compiled research findings and disseminates compilationsof RSHDC work to community and University/academic partners;
  • In collaboration with RSHDC Assistant Director and RSHDC collections team definesstrategy and scope for ongoing content research and curation;
  • Researches funding sources and prepares, composes and edits funding applications andresearch reports
  • Contributes to project planning, execution, monitoring and reportingSupervision ReceivedWorks independently under the broad direction of the RSHDC Assistant Director of Research and EngagementSupervision Given

    May assign or check the work of technicians, support staff, students or volunteers.

    Consequence of Error/Judgement:

    The Research and Engagement Strategist will exercise initiative, sound judgment, and tact in working with faculty, staff and with contacts at other institutions. Good judgment in the assessment of materials is imperative, as is attention to detail and organization. Errors, poor judgment, and inappropriate decisions can impede the work of the RSHDC and result in missed opportunities and, ultimately, ineffective or inadequate displays of public information, or in compromised relations with critical contacts at other institutions. Misidentification of usage rights on materials may create legal exposure for the Centre and university.

Qualifications:

University degree in a relevant field (Indigenous studies, History with an Indigenous concentration, etc.), or in another academic field preferred with a minimum of two years related experience with Indigenous organizations related to residential school issues, or the equivalent combination of education and experience is required. Minimum of two years related experience or the equivalent combination of education and experience. Excellent research and writing skills. Knowledge of the residential school history and historical context is requisite. Demonstrated experience in working with Indigenous organizations is required. Experience with archival research or curatorial experience an asset. Computer competence in document preparation, database use, and organization of storage required. Experience in working with multimedia resources and/or communications strategies desirable. Excellent judgment and interpersonal skills required. Excellent oral and presentation skills required. Ability to build effective relationships when working with other staff, both locally and at related institutions required. Ability to work both independently and within a team environment required. Ability to work effectively under pressure to meet deadlines required. Given equivalent qualifications, preference will be given to First Nations, Métis and/or Inuit candidates.

Experience engaging with First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples and communities, demonstrated Indigenous cultural competency including knowledge of Indian Residential School system, and prior work with Survivors of schools and their families, is preferred. If candidate does not have adequate experience and cultural competency with Indigenous peoples, professional development requirements to achieve proven competency may be a requirement during the probationary period.

UBC hires on the basis of merit and is strongly committed to equity and diversity within its community. We especially welcome applications from visible minority group members, women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, persons of minority sexual orientations and gender identities, and others with the skills and knowledge to productively engage with diverse communities. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

For more details and to apply visit UBC Careers under Job ID 35535. View a PDF of the job description.

Job Opening: Education and Programming Strategist

Job ID: 35514
Location: Vancouver – Point Grey Campus
Employment Group: Management and Professional
Job Category: Educational Programming
Classification Title: Educational Programming, Level A
Business Title: RSHDC Education and Programming Strategist
VP/Faculty: Assoc. VP Academic Affairs
Department: IRSHDC
Salary Range: $49,090.00 – $70,717.00 (Annual)
Full/Part Time: Full-Time
Desired Start Date: 18 November 2019
Ongoing: Yes
Funding Type: Budget Funded
Closing Date: 2019/10/25
Available Openings: 1
Guiding principle: “Midpoint” of the hiring salary range means the individual possesses full job knowledge, qualifications and experience.

Job Summary

Working collaboratively with the RSHDC team, the Education and Programming Strategist coordinates initiatives, projects and events in support of curation, education and reference activities. Creates and/or maintains partnerships with Indigenous communities, Survivors of residential school and/or intergenerational survivors to develop collaborative projects and initiatives. Coordinates programming initiatives at the Centre as well as with communities, schools, post-secondary institutions and UBC partners.

Collaborates on content and aids in designing and carrying out education and programming strategies, scope and goals. Participates in ongoing project planning, education and programming development and execution. Investigates funding sources and works collaboratively with RSHDC team to develop, compose, edit and proof funding applications and reports.

Works with the RSHDC team to incorporate research and records related to the Residential School System in Canada and its legacies into curriculum, resources and programming.

Organizational Status

Reports to the RSHDC Education and Programming Lead, or designate. Works closely and in collaboration with the Education and Programming Lead, RSHDC team, community and academic partners/stakeholders, and related education and programming staff at other institutions.

Work Performed

  • Works directly with Indigenous community members and communities to develop collaborative education resources and programming initiatives;
  • Coordinates programming at the RHSDC for visiting individuals or groups, Survivors, families, school groups and UBC faculties, departments and/or partners;
  • Collaborates in developing, testing and implementing education/programming resources for RSHDC lessons, workshops and/or conferences;
  • Works collaboratively with RSHDC and various partner organizations to organize events, dialogues and conferences;
  • Provides lectures and presentations and is able to facilitate and/or organize events including public speaking engagements, dialogues, and workshops, etc.;
  • Identifies relevant methodologies in Indigenous studies, trauma-informed memory institution studies to inform RSHDC educational content and programming;
  • In collaboration with RSHDC Education and Programming Lead and RSHDC team defines strategies and scope for ongoing curriculum and programming;
  • Researches funding sources and prepares, composes and edits funding applications and reports
  • Contributes to project planning, execution, monitoring and reporting Supervision ReceivedWorks independently under the broad direction of the RSHDC Education and Programming LeadSupervision GivenMay assign or check the work of technicians, support staff, students or volunteers.

Consequence of Error/Judgement:

The Strategist will exercise initiative, sound judgment, and tact in working with faculty, staff and with contacts at other institutions. Good judgment in the assessment of materials is imperative, as is attention to detail and organization. Errors, poor judgment, and inappropriate decisions can impede the work of the RSHDC and result in missed opportunities and, ultimately, ineffective or inadequate displays of information, or in compromised relations with critical contacts at other institutions. Misidentification of usage rights on materials may create legal exposure for the Centre and university.

Qualifications:

• University degree in a relevant field (Education, Indigenous studies, History with an Indigenous concentration, etc.), or in another academic field preferred with a minimum of three years related experience with Indigenous organizations and/or communities related to residential school issues, or the equivalent combination of education and experience is required.

  • Excellent research and writing skills.
  • Knowledge of the residential school history and historical context is required
  • Demonstrated experience in working with Indigenous organizations is required.
  • Experience with curriculum and programming development an asset.
  • Computer competence in document preparation, database use, and organization ofstorage required.
  • Experience in working with multimedia resources and/or communications strategiesdesirable.
  • Excellent judgment and interpersonal skills required. Excellent oral and presentation skillsrequired.
  • Ability to build effective relationships when working with other staff, both locally and atrelated institutions required.
  • Ability to work both independently and within a team environment required.
  • Ability to work effectively under pressure to meet deadlines required.

Given equivalent qualifications, preference will be given to First Nations, Métis and/orInuit candidates.

Experience engaging with First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples and communities, demonstrated Indigenous cultural competency including knowledge of Indian Residential School system, and prior work with Survivors of schools and their families, is preferred. If candidate does not have adequate experience and cultural competency with Indigenous peoples, professional development requirements to achieve proven competency may be a requirement during the probationary period.

UBC hires on the basis of merit and is strongly committed to equity and diversity within its community. We especially welcome applications from visible minority group members, women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, persons of minority sexual orientations and gender identities, and others with the skills and knowledge to productively engage with diverse communities. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

For more details and to apply visit UBC Careers under Job ID 35514. View a PDF of the job description.

National Student Memorial Register honours children who died in residential school

The National Truth and Reconciliation Centre (NCTR) recently held a ceremony honouring the reveal of the National Student Memorial Register, which lists the names of 2,800 students who never returned home from residential schools. The register is intended as a reminder of the lives of the children that were lost as a result of the system.

The ceremony took place at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, and involved the display of a red cloth, 50 metres in length, which listed the names of the students for the first time.

The register was created in response to Call to Action 72 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. It names children who died while attending a residential school, or who were injured or became ill at a residential school and died away from the school.

The NCTR recognizes that the number of children lost in the schools is far higher than the number of names included in the register, as many of the dead or missing children remain unidentified. An estimated 1,900 children are unnamed. As further work is done to recover their names, the list will continue to grow.

The register is now available on the NCTR’s website.

The Residential School History and Dialogue Centre has a small amount of print copies of the register on hand for Survivors and family members. For more information, contact irshdc.info@ubc.ca or come to the Centre in person to see a copy of the register.

 

Liberals prove they don’t value Indigenous kids as much as other children

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond (Aki-kwe)

Professor of Law, UBC

Director, Residential School History and Dialogue Centre

 

Is the life and well-being of an Indigenous child in Canada valued as much as other children? That in 2019 we must still confront this question may be shocking to some.  But we shouldn’t be shocked. Again and again we are confronted with evidence that the deplorable answer to this question is “no”.  The latest example is the horrendously unjust and misguided decision of the Liberal government to fight against First Nations people being compensated – as ordered by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal – for gross discrimination and harms caused to Indigenous children and families being provided less care and services then non-Indigenous children. These are harms that have contributed to a national crisis of broken families and massive rates of Indigenous children in care.

Let’s be clear. The blatant discrimination and racism the Human Rights Tribunal was compensating for were not incidences from 100 years ago.  Or 50 years ago. Or even a few decades ago.  They were from acts in recent years, and on-going right until today.  And let’s not mince words about what this discrimination is. It is the actions by successive recent governments, including the current government, to provide less supports for some children rather then others based on race. Effectively, if you are Indigenous you get less. If you are non-Indigenous you get more.

One would think that the endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; the professing that the relationship with Indigenous peoples was the most “important” one; the adoption of a Directive to change the culture of fighting with Indigenous peoples in the Courts; the tearful soliloquies about the importance of reconciliation; and the professed learning and awareness gained through the Truth and Reconciliation and Commission and the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls; would result in making choices other then perpetuating race-based discrimination against children.  But, alas, to think that would be wrong.  Reconciliation, we can now see, does not mean that an Indigenous child will be valued the same as other children.

What compounds the shame of this action by the Liberal government is that since 2016 there has been order upon order from the Human Rights Tribunal, and opportunity upon opportunity on the government, to address this discrimination. Remember, the government chose not to appeal the original findings of discrimination.  But at they same time they have not taken the necessary and required steps to fully address the wrong.  While there have been a few steps forward, not nearly enough has been done.  And when the Human Rights Tribunal makes clear – as is the basic law – that discrimination has consequences, the government chooses to appeal and “quash” any effort by the Tribunal to order consequences.  Meanwhile, children and their families continue to suffer, and the discrimination goes on.

In Canada, under this government, the violation of the Charter rights of one individual was compensated, willingly, through an out of court settlement, to the tune of millions of dollars.  The violation of the human rights of Indigenous children is apparently not worth a dime.

The disgust with which Indigenous people, and others across the country, have met this decision is compounded by the incoherence of the government in trying to explain it. Government spokespersons say they simply want more time to discuss how best to deal with compensation to victims and restorative justice for discrimination against First Nations children and families.  If they wanted more time, I’m sure everyone would have acceded to that request.

But they didn’t ask. Instead, they went into to Court and filed arguments that said no compensation whatsoever should be paid.  For more then 150 years Indigenous peoples in this country have experienced the age-old colonial practice of having government officials say one thing, and then do exactly another.  I can only join the chorus in saying “here we go again” and urge Canadians to speak up to your political leaders and insist they resolve this matter without further fighting—Indigenous kids deserve better because, well, it’s 2019.

 

This opinion piece was published in the Globe and Mail online.