Exhibition explores history and legacy of residential schools
Rocky View Schools (RVS) is inviting the public to the March 6 opening night of 100 Years of Loss Mobile Exhibition, a showcase touring across Canada.
The bilingual display, which runs from March 4 to 19, will feature archival and contemporary photographs, works of art, primary documents and research that reveal the histories of First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) children who were forcibly removed from their families and culture to be institutionalized in residential schools.
The exhibition will also explore the legacy of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and its lasting impact on aboriginal survivors and their descendants, as well as on Canada as a nation.
“At RVS we are committed to helping our students, staff and communities develop a strong understanding of both history and culture of FNMI communities,” said Teresa Cardinal, FNMI Learning Specialist with RVS.
Schools interested in touring the exhibition are also asked to contact Cardinal to arrange a date.
Cardinal said the hope of the display is not only to “start a conversation” but also to provide teachers with a resource to make them more comfortable talking about this controversial part of Canadian history.
“100 Years of Loss is a great example of a culturally relevant resource that can help create a dialogue around the legacy of residential schools and build an understanding of the connection that exists between the system and the social issues currently affecting various aboriginal communities across Canada,” Cardinal said.
Residential schools in Canada date back to the 1870s, with the last school closing in 1996. More than 130 residential schools were located across the country.
The website for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada states, “During this era, more than 150,000 First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children were placed in these schools often against their parents’ wishes. Many were forbidden to speak their language and practice their own culture. While there is an estimated 80,000 former students living today, the ongoing impact of residential schools has been felt throughout generations and has contributed to social problems that continue to exist.”
Legacy of Hope
The 100 Years of Loss exhibit is a project from A Legacy of Hope Foundation, a charitable organization, which seeks to educate, raise awareness and understanding of the legacy created from residential schools, and to support the ongoing healing process of Residential School Survivors.
“Hopefully (people who see the display) will start to form some sort of next step and plan on how to support the aboriginal community,” Cardinal said.
The opening night event on March 6 will be held at RVS’ Education Centre located at 2651 Chinook Winds Dr. S.W. from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and is free of charge but non-perishable donations for the Airdrie Food Bank will be accepted. To RSVP to the opening night email Cardinal at email@example.com