VERA CROW SHOE – GAZETTE CONTRIBUTOR
On March 19 more than 300 students representing Treaty 6, 7, 8, Metis, non-status and non-aboriginal communities from five schools across Alberta came together to collaborate, through the use of technology, in a Virtual town hall to discuss youths’ vision for reconciliation.
From the rural communities of High Prairie and Fort Macleod, the youth of Alberta came together to create a document that represents the youth voice.
The virtual town hall was a culmination of over a month of on-line teamwork, 1,500 hours of student collaboration and a passion by Alberta’s youth to engage in dialogue (including weekly webinars, blogging, posting responses, Twitter, cell phone voting, You Tube, discussion boards, Google Docs).
This document titled “Vision for the Future: Alberta Youth’s Perspective on Reconciliation” was submitted to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
On Thursday three F.P. Walshe school students who had participated in the virtual town hall attended the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Indian Residential Schools held in Edmonton.
Grade 11 student Carleigh Grier-Stewart and Grade 10 students Hayley Grier–Stewart and Michaela Weasel Moccasin were instrumental in writing the youth position paper.
Hayley was selected to present (along with four other students from various schools in Alberta) in front of Truth and Reconciliation Commissioners Justice Murray Sinclair, Commissioner Marie Wilson and Commissioner Wilton Little Child, Interim Premier Dave Hancock, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Frank Oberle, and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
At this event, Minister Oberle with Interim Premier Hancock by his side, announced that Indian Residential Schools would become mandated Kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum in Alberta.
Mayor Nenshi announced Calgary would begin the Year of Reconciliation from March 27, 2014 to March 27, 2015