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St. James-Assiniboia School Division
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News Item

Mending Broken Relationships

May 29, 2017

Student working on mending the blanket project.jpgJameswood Alternative School has been on a yearlong journey exploring Truth and Reconciliation. The students have been learning about Canada’s history and the broken relationships between settlers and Indigenous people. In an effort to create a physical symbol of their learning, reflective of their commitment to reconciliation, Jameswood Alternative School began The Blanket Project.

Jameswood Guidance Counsellor Ms. Ansloos came up with the idea for The Blanket Project after she mended a blanket to honour a local Indigenous woman who passed away. She received an overwhelmingly positive reaction to her work and decided to team up with Jameswood Principal Mr. Miller and Indigenous Education Teacher Mrs. Waters to help bring the concept to Jameswood.

   Using Hudson Bay blankets as symbols of Canada, students worked through our country’s difficult history by tearing and ripping blankets to tangibly show breaches in relationships. Indigenous Education Teacher Mrs. Waters presented six teachings focussing specifically on these relationships in the areas of government, education, community, family, health and youth. Students then embarked on the difficult task of mending these blankets in a beautiful and meaningful way as a symbolic act of reconciliation. The process had such a tremendous impact on the students and staff involved, they desired to share the project with all of the Senior Years schools  in our Division. 

JAS Blanket Ceremony.JPG

From the left: Mrs. Waters, Mr. Miller, Ms. Ansloos, Trustee Chegus, Chief Superintendent Mr. Lough, Trustee Lethbridge, 
Assistant Superintendent Mr. Wake, Trustee Smukowich (Vice Chair) and Trustee Hume.

    On May 23, Jameswood Alternative School held a Blanket Ceremony to celebrate their learning. A mended blanket was presented to a representative from each high school in SJASD, including: Principal Mr. Dueck, Westwood Collegiate; Principal Ms. Steffler, St. James Collegiate; Principal Mr. Pelletier, College Sturgeon Heights Collegiate; Vice Principal Mrs. Kent and Guidance Cousellor Ms. Grant, John Taylor Collegiate; and lastly, Chief Superintendent Mr. Lough and Assistant Superintendent Mr. Wake, School Board Office. As seen above, the ceremony was also attended by four School Board Trustees including: Trustee Bruce Chegus, Trustee Sandy Lethbridge, Trustee Ed Hume and Vice Chair of the Board Cheryl Smukowich. The blankets will be on display in all five respective locations for students, staff and the community to view. Jameswood Alternative School also donated one blanket to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The Blanket Project is one example of the important steps our Division is taking to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commision of Canada’s Call to Action and we would like to commend the Jameswood school community for being leaders in this national intiative. 


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