All literary studies are, in effect, “Indigenous ways of knowing." Sharing stories that are sacred to us; stories that broaden, sharpen, and deepen our awareness of the human condition, become a wholesome way to practice First Nations cultural wisdom. As Justice Sinclair exhorts us to do, we come to stories in order to understand where we come from, where we are going, what our purpose is, and who we are. Empathy. Perspective Taking. Global Awareness. Indeed, all values are embedded in the literature we study. Once we layer on the insightful learning that emanates from Indigenous Stories, we can better understand the Canadian imperative.
At Morinville Community High School, three consequential novels have been chosen for study to appreciate First Nations culture. That includes awareness of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action (2012) report, the legacy of residential schools, the holy and sacred ceremonies, and rituals and connections to land and animals - indeed, all things “First Nations” that we can collectively learn from. Students will read in grade 10, the novel “The Marrow Thieves”, in grade 11 “Indian Horse”, and in grade 12 the novel “Three Day Road”. All three create a narrative arc that asks us to realize the historical, cultural and contemporary truths of Indigenous teaching. Along with the literary studies, we participate in ceremony - such as the smudge. The bridge between Alexander First Nation and Morinville Community High School is growing stronger as our young people cast aside old ways of thinking and “being”. We realize the trust it will take to forge a healing bond. We are honoured to make this commitment and share in the journey of This Canadian Life.