I just finished reading a second book written by Canadian/Ojibway author Richard Wagamese. A friend in my book club suggested we read Wagamese’s book Medicine Walk. We were so captivated by the book we decided to read another, Indian Horse, which was an official selection for CBC’s Canada Reads program in 2013. Wagamese describes a Canada I am not familiar with. He describes the great Canadian outdoors so vividly that you feel like you’re in rural Alberta. Wagamese writes so passionately about Canada’s national sport, hockey, that you can smell the ice. He also writes about the painful history of Residential Schools.
My book club(myself included) believe Wagamese’s books would be a great addition to high school curriculums across the provinces. Wagamese sheds light on Canadian history in a very authentic way.
Interestingly, today the Huffington Post published a feature article on a recommendation made by a commissioner on the Truth an Reconciliation Commission that an education of Residential Schools be mandatory in high schools across Canada. I strongly believe Wagamese’s books could be good start.
Read the article from the Huffington Post:
Former Prime Minister Paul Martin recommends a four-year literacy pilot program implemented at two First Nations’ elementary schools should be put into place across Canada. Martin suggested the reading and writing program, implemented at Walpole Island and Kettle and Stony Point First nations in Ontario, improved students literacy performance. The program, designed by Julia O’Sullivan dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, required schools to carry out a mandatory reading and writing period for every student during the first 90 minutes of each day. Kettle and Stony Point First Nation chief Thomas Bressette drew attention to the underfunding of First Nations schools. Bressette noted “there needs to be a period of catch-up time because our people have been looked down on and set back because of underfunding, not because we’re ignorant and we’re dumb and uneducated and incapable of learning, but because of the circumstances.”
Link to the news article: http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/literacy-pilot-project-leads-to-improvements-at-first-nations-schools-1.2251422