Apart from sharing personal, highly relevant, and rich information on a specific topic, while engaging students in dialogue, guest speakers often engage students in interactive activities in order to deepen their understanding on an issue. Students may be asked to reflect, make links to prior experiences, to brainstorm, to role-play, to participate in an activity within a group and share thoughts, feelings, understandings and questions. Such activities can be used to provide opportunities to students for social justice actions. Some examples may be the Blanket Exercise and the Project of the Heart that provide a rich experience on reconciliation and the Residential schools history of First Nations, Metis and Inuit people.
This exercise provides the opportunity to participants to get an understanding on reconciliation and how Indigenous people lost their land and were forced to occupy just one half of the 1% of Canada’s land mass. Also, this exercise allows Elders to share experiences from Residential schools history and discuss the reasons or why and how Indigenous people resisted assimilation and were against any attempt to be absorbed in the mainstream society.
This is a collaborative interactive engagement that allows participants to inquire and learn about the history of Aboriginal people in Canada; acknowledge the suffering and loss endured by families and communities; take action by commemorating the lives of residential school students who died; and, by become involved in initiatives that will bring justice, social and economic change and growth to the lives of the Indigenous population.