Students Take Virtual Tour of Former Residential School

Dave Downer
On Wednesday, November 24th, all Grade 10 History students took part in a collective guided virtual tour run by the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford, Ont. The centre is a museum and indigenous education site that operates in the building formerly known as the Mohawk Institute Residential School. The residential school was Canada’s oldest and longest running residential school institution, operating from 1831-1970.
The virtual tour video was created with local production company, Thru the RedDoor, and follows Lorrie Gallant as she gives a tour of the former Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School. Gallant is a writer, artist and educational program coordinator at the Woodland Centre. During the video, Lorrie provides the history of the institution over its 140 year history. Viewers will get to see the different rooms in the school, from the girls’ and boys’ dormitories, to the cafeteria, laundry room, and other rooms throughout the building, as well as hear interviews from five Survivors of the Mohawk Institute.
 
While there were some generally known experiences and practices from the residential schools that the tour confirmed, there were many more that were revealed. Many were shocking. The school had a guide, Faye Johnson, who did a remarkable job answering questions about the residential schools and about reconciliation. When the students had a chance to debrief when they returned to class, they were full of questions and comments. They realized that the process to understand and to begin to help with the healing is a long and challenging one.
 
In an email, student Brooke Wappel, said it this way: “It was very informative and I learned so much. A lot of what we learned I did not know before and am grateful to be better informed of what happened.”
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Founded in 1972, The Country Day School is a co-educational private school offering programs in JK-12 and located on 100 acres north of Toronto in King.