Students at Lavallee School, including Caitlin Friesen, second from left, and Kylie Wilson, second from right, wrote poems to be sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Teacher Kate Hallett, third from right, said they talked about the trial as part of their study of Indigenous issues. (Jamie McKenzie/CBC) A group of Grade 7 and 8 students from a Winnipeg school are sending poetry to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, inspired by a poem written by Sen. Murray Sinclair about the shooting death of a young Indigenous man and the acquittal of the man accused of killing him.
Students at Lavallee School wrote the poems about grief, injustice and the pain of the past as an assignment in their study of Indigenous issues. They’re sending the poems to Sinclair, too, who wrote Colten in honour of 21-year-old Colten Boushie, who was shot and killed in Saskatchewan in August 2016.
"I grieve for those who cover their broken pasts with secrets and lies. They try not to hide beneath the floor of remembering," one poem reads.
"I grieve for those who have to fake. They wear masks to cover up broken pasts and broken mistakes," says another.
"I grieve for you, for the injustice, the racism, the broken promises and the lies. Because we all know someone will say something, mean the exact opposite, and sweep you under the rug," Caitlin Friesen wrote in her poem.
She said she wrote it in a day.
"It just flowed, like, everything. I just knew what I was going to say and I just kept writing, I just kept going," Caitlin said.
"Maybe because, like, I believe in it so much… that things in the world aren’t just. They’re not right."
She said she saw injustice in what she learned about Canada’s treatment of Indigenous peoples and in the trial of Raymond Cormier, who was acquitted last week of second-degree murder in the death of Tina Fontaine.
The Indigenous girl was 15 when her body was pulled from the Red River in Winnipeg in 2014, wrapped in a duvet weighed down with rocks. ‘Actually, like, do something about it’
Kate Hallett, the teacher in charge of the project, says she and her students followed the trials of Cormier and Gerald Stanley, who was acquitted last month in Boushie’s death.
"It’s sort of innate in me just to bring in issues that are presented in the media. That’s something we talk about a lot,"she said.
"Indigenous issues have always been important to me. I didn’t know anything — it was not taught to me in high school, it was not taught to me in middle school."
She said she encouraged students to think critically about what they learned about the trials, and provided them with links to Twitter and Youtube posts on the subject. They had discussions about the proceedings over a week.
Student Kylie Wilson said she saw injustice in the living conditions and funding for reserves in Canada. She said she’s learned a lot about Indigenous issues and wanted to share what she knows.
"I hope that [the prime minister] could maybe — I don’t know, like, reach out to us or something," said Wilson. "And like, make like a difference and realize what’s happening and actually, like, do something about it."
(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)