CWDHS students focus on Indigenous history during Ottawa tour
December 6, 2017
FERGUS, Ontario – During the first week of December, eight students and three teachers from Centre Wellington District High School travelled to Ottawa for a learning trip focused heavily on Indigenous history and contemporary issues.
Students and staff visited Ottawa between December 3 and 5. Upon arrival, the group toured the Canadian Museum of History, including the new Canada Hall.
On December 4, the group did a walking tour of downtown Ottawa with tour group Indigenous Walks. Indigenous Walks runs tours through downtown Ottawa that focuses on landscaping, architecture, art and monuments through an Indigenous perspective. The tour guide, Alanis King, spoke to the group about the enduring Indigenous presence in Ottawa.
They visited the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights, the Lost Child sculpture at Ottawa’s City Hall, the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument, Kwakiutl Totem in Confederation Park, various Indigenous art displays and the Ottawa River.
After the Indigenous Walks tour, the group visited the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada where students and staff learned about the important work the society is doing advocating for First Nations children. They also had the chance to learn about the different ways that people can become involved with the organization.
The group was touring non-stop on this trip. They visited the Tungasuvvingat Inuit and learned about their work with the Inuit living in Ottawa, as well as the services they provide. While there, students and staff were fortunate enough to be able to taste some authentic Inuit food including bannock, arctic char and raw caribou.
Students were able to learn about politics on their trip when they met with two of Minister Jane Philpott’s advisors. During this visit, they were able to ask questions about the work being done by the Ministry of Indigenous Services as it pertains to the water advisories on reserves, as well as the educational funding gap and the number of children in care.
On their final day in Ottawa, the group had breakfast with Senator Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the Parliamentary dining room. Sinclair spoke to students and staff about his work and discussed some contemporary cultural issues such as controversial statues and names.
After breakfast, the group met with Senator Chantal Petitclerc. Senator Petitclerc spoke about the learning curve of becoming a senator and the issues that are of importance to her. She also spoke to students about the process of creating a bill and how a bill becomes a law.
Students and staff had the opportunity to sit in the Senate gallery and were recognized by the Senate as guests of Senator Sinclair.
Centre Wellington DHS students and staff would all agree that this trip was a tremendous learning opportunity and were lucky to be part of the experience.