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Aboriginal Youth Identity Series: Health and WellnessSeniors Health and Wellness
Health and Wellness
Health and Wellness

Lesson 3: Reclaiming the Ability to Heal

Teacher Information:

Today the focus is on Aboriginal communities reclaiming the ability to heal themselves from the wrongdoings and negative experiences of the residential school era. Many communities have developed government sponsored programs to address these issues. Another facet of the healing process is that many individuals want acknowledgement for the experiences they endured. Organizations and the legal system are working with people to develop such claims.


Students will:

  • Develop understanding and appreciation for the experiences of those Aboriginal people who attended residential schools
  • Research and report on the different community initiatives to restore healing
  • Recognize that healing initiatives are trying to make an impact
  • Identify how healing initiatives are working
  • Demonstrate respect for Aboriginal culture, values, and traditions

Main Lesson

Students will follow up on their projects by researching what community health initiatives have been put in place to help individuals who attended residential schools heal. Students should look at the role of the churches and how they are addressing the claims of abuse and neglect that took place at a large number of residential schools.

Before heading off to begin researching as students to keep the following in mind (you may choose to have a class discussion as well):

  1. Why is it important that the claims of abuse and neglect of residential school victims be taken seriously?
  2. What have some of the long term affects of residential schools had on individuals and whole communities?
  3. Why do you think it has taken so long for these issues to be addressed?
  4. Think back to aspects that create health and wellness in a community. How are some of these principals or needs being met or possibly not being met in Aboriginal communities, based on what you already know from your research?
  5. Who do you think should be responsible for helping Aboriginal communities heal themselves?
  6. Who in your opinion, is responsible for aspects of neglect and abuse that happened within residential schools, the government or the Church?

Students may want to look at the following websites:

Concluding Activity

Based on what students have learned throughout the course of the three lesson plans they should adopt a role play format in which they are a government official responsible for developing a healing and wellness initiative to benefit residential school survivors. Students may work in partners to create a visual aid to promote their program as well as a written component that briefly describes why the initiative is being created, what the goal of the initiative is, what the benefits are, etc. Students will be required to do a presentation to share their health and wellness initiative with their fellow classmates. Students will then vote on one program that they think should receive government funding.

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