The following story was provided by James Fowler High School about a recent documentary screening at their school and their work to support reconciliation.
James Fowler High School was excited to host a screening of the documentary film When They Awake, on September 20, 2017. The film was the opening gala film for the Calgary International Film Festival and showcases the renaissance of Indigenous culture and music in Canada, which is empowering youth towards reconciliation and Indigenizing our education system.
This was an incredible opportunity for all of our students, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to be exposed to what it means to be Indigenous in contemporary Canada, as well as to break down stereotypes and assumptions that colonization has created within our Canadian society. At James Fowler High School, we have made it a priority to enact the Calls to Action for Reconciliation. This film allowed us the opportunity to bring Indigenous values, history and culture into our everyday school life. Students responded positively to the film and they were excited to connect with the one of the directors on the impacts that the film had on them.
Moving forward, James Fowler High School students will remain in contact with the directors providing them with reflections they had on the film and continuing the dialogue in which the film started. Our learning leader and graduation coach for Indigenous learners will also be going to classes to debrief the film and the learning that each of us can take away.
Understanding how the Indigenous peoples of Canada are using music to help revitalize their culture will in turn help Indigenous youth and adults combat the legacies of colonialism within our society. Given the diverse nature of our population, many of our students coming from many countries around the world, this film, its message and the subsequent dialogue in our school will teach all of our cultures how to preserve their own culture while respecting others’ cultures. As Kainai Elder Reg Crowshoe has taught us, we are all human beings, it is our culture that makes us who we are and gives us our identity and pride.