Assignment #2 Week of February 23

Dear Division 16,

As you know, last week was the date for the St. Michaels Residential School to be demolished. There was a ceremony where many attended in order to say goodbye to that place.

During that ceremony, an interesting exhibit of photographs was collected for the visitors. Please watch the video in the link below:

http://m.theglobeandmail.com/news/news-video/video-residential-school-survivors-surprised-by-exhibit/article23171094/?service=mobile

After watching, think about the unique and surprising perspective shown to the survivors and their families by the pictures taken by a student. The news article states that students were generally prohibited from having cameras.

Reflect on the importance of having these rare points of view represented in history and think about what unique perspective would help you to understand history. We have seen that throughout Canada’s history, the point of view of children, women, aboriginal people, workers, disabled people, people of colour and gay and lesbian people are often not counted or part of the record of history. For your post, think about a part of Canadian History and identify which forgotten, forbidden or unrecorded point of view is missing from the story.

For example, I might choose the underground railway and explain how the difficult and physically demanding travels might have been a barrier for someone who had a disability that prevented them from walking long distances through dangerous terrain, and noticed that we rarely hear stories except about strong people walking through the night and hiding in uncomfortable places.  What choices did those individuals have in their quest for freedom, as safety was available only to those who were able to make the journey?  How would that journey look different for someone who used a wheelchair, or was visually impaired?  What stories and experiences are we missing?

I look forward to your responses!

20 comments

  1. Scarletcat

    I think that the voices unheard in the stories of Japanese internment camps are the children’s. Imagine being a young child and getting stripped from your home and happy life in Canada. You wouldn’t know what was happening and you would soon loose your rights and freedom. I think lots of stories from children’s perspectives could be told of being in internment camps and being sent off to Japan after the pearl harbor attack. It would be awful to go through all of that at such a young age, and no one should have to go through that at any age. Usually we hear stories of those camps from the men who lost their jobs and homes. But the children lost their homes too and probably lost lots of important things and friendships when they had to go to the internment camps.

    • dickensdiv16

      You’re right, Scarletcat, the stories of children are often missing from the Japanese Internment stories, and that the stories of men are often the most common. It’s true that many of the more difficult to understand concepts such as human rights and freedoms might not be understood by children at the time, but they would certainly have been able to tell the story through their memories.

  2. coolschoolscout

    I thin the voices were unheard by the children in Stanley Park. They didn’t mean any harm to anybody, they lived off of the land and lived happy lives like us. But because of their nationality, the government had to be cruel to them, and make their lives basically miserable. Since there were only three families that lived there, they couldn’t argue, and they were kind and gave up all of their possessions and their properties. They had to look for work, and the government didn’t admit that they had taken it to far.The main stories came from the three main adults, but what do their children think?

    • dickensdiv16

      Coolschoolscout, I think the point you’re making is that because there were so few of them, it was hard for them to stand up to the government and hold their ground. Similar to Scarletcat’s response above, I think it would have been hard for children to record their understanding at that point, although they might be able to write their memories after the events.

  3. reader

    I think the unheard voices are in Stanley park. There were three family’s that lived there and all of there houses got torn down but one of the family’s built a new house for them to live in. just imagine having breakfast in the morning and hearing this banging noise outside your house and when you look out your window you see a bunch of men digging a road. if you were then government and you could name the area of Stanley park before you was even named that, what would you name the area?

    • dickensdiv16

      You’re right, reader, I’m a keen study of local history and I had no idea about the families living in Stanley Park before it became a park before our visit from Dr. Barman. Those indignities that the families faced while the city evicted them are certainly an important part of Vancouver’s history.

  4. PointyHedgeHog11

    I think a view that is not expressed in Canadian history is the parents of home children. Home children were children who live in the slums of England. The parents sent them to orphanages in England temporarily or permanently because of financial problems. The children in orphanages rarely got to see their parents if their parents were still alive. At this point in history ,Canada was a new country and was asking people to immigrate. England was having a problem . Growing numbers of poor people were living in the slums and were running out of space. Their solution want to send children to Canada to work for farmers in rural communities. The children didn’t have any say in with whether they would like to go to Canada. From what the children had heard Canada was like paradise and they would have better lives than they would if they stayed in England . But these dreams were dashed when they got to their homes . Many experienced homesickness, which they said was the worst part of being a home child. Some home children weren’t allowed to go to school and had to work all day when the other children in the family were at school. Some home children were accepted into the family as if they were related too them , but many were abused and worked too hard.The reason I don’t think the parents of home children’s views are expressed in history because they’ve passed away and haven’t been able to say their opinion in sending their child to another country. I think it’s really important that the home children who are now much much older should research their family trees and learn their parents and siblings stories. It affects even children and grandchildren because one side of their family tree is blank. I think it would be very interesting to hear the opinions of the parents of the home children about the orphanages sending ther children to Canada.

    • dickensdiv16

      PointyHedgehog11, this is an excellent example of the kinds of stories that are lost to history, as those children suffered from multiple discriminations. This example is great because these children have stories before and after their trip to Canada. Their experiences are likely unique in Canada. It’s a real shame that many of these stories are lost to history. Do you know about how families of the Home Children can discover possible connections?

  5. petrinied4000

    I think that children in with disabilitys that went to residential schools were unheard. We have heard what it is like in residential school even though we didn’t experience it we know that it was horrible. I have never heard about how it was for the children with disabilitys though. especially kids with brain problems. From the stories I’ve heard, the nuns weren’t exactly kind and caring people.
    I’m sure that those children have very interesting and horrible as well.

    • dickensdiv16

      petrinied4000, we have heard about those survivors of residential schools often have challenges that were caused by their experiences in residential schools. I feel certain that there was not support provided for children who needed extra help.

  6. THE_MOST_AWESOME_PERSON3710

    I think that the voices that are unheard would have to be the children on the komagata maru. They had to go on a boat with bunch strangers. They all had high hopes of going to canada. Then found out that only the 22 people returning to canada could stay. When they had stay at that dock like they were prisoners on there own boat then being forced back to india.

    • dickensdiv16

      THE_MOST_AWESOME_PERSON3710, were there children on the Komagata Maru? If you’re right, then it’s surprising that we’ve never heard those stories at all. It would have been difficult for the adults, and so much more challenging for the children in that situation.

  7. Cheeseman ABC 123

    I think the unheard voice was the three families that lived in Stanley park because they weren’t doing anything wrong or anything disrespectful to anyone and the government said we r’e going to build a road right through there house they didn’t give any respect did n’t listen to any of there words i just don’t think it is right for the government to do that just because of there nationality . I what would happen if the families that lived there argued against the government ??????

  8. cheese curds

    My perspective would be from a person who didn’t have an arm during the fur trade. If you didn’t have an arm you couldn’t be a hunter, and it would be hard to make trades or make hats – it was mostly manual labour.

  9. Ginger

    I think that the voices unheard are those of the Chinese labourers who built the Canadian Pacific Railway. They risked their lives every day to make hardly any money which they then sent home to their families. The building of the railroad across Canada was considered a great national feat. Many people were very proud of the fact that it was finally completed. If the general population knew who actually built the railway, and what terrible working conditions they worked under, they might not have been so eager to support the project. Most of the famous photographs of the construction of the CP railroad are of Caucasian men and there are few of the Chinese workers. Labourers had no idea what was happening to their families and their families didn’t know where in Canada their husbands, fathers or sons were. The story of the Chinese labourers was even more difficult to tell because most of them likely spoke very little English.

  10. Subway2go

    I think the unheard voices of building the CPR were the Chinese labourers. Think of all the Chinese workers who worked on the railway, there were thousands. Nowdays, if you look in a book about building the CPR you don’t hear much at all about the Chinese. The Chinese workers had the most dangerous jobs in building the railway. They had to blow up mountains, work through boggy land and all the shelter they had were canvas tents that weren’t even weather proof. They worked long hours to earn money for their families. One dollar a day they got for labour that was back breaking. Yet these Chinese men persevered though mostly everything. Many of these Chinese labourers died of diseases because there was no health care. Even if the Chinese labourers told their boss that one of their friends was sick, the boss wouldn’t do anything about it. These stories that we see today don’t even mention that they didn’t know much english, so their supervisors couldn’t really understand them. Once the CPR was finished, all of these Chinese men were out of work, they had no where to go. I really hope that these Chinese workers’ stories were listened too, so that we could know more about our history in Canada.

  11. balloongirl123

    I think that the unheard voices were from the three families that were living in Stanley park. All of their houses were torn down and replaced with roads by the government. Now the three families have to find a job because they have all given up their houses without much of a fight which I don’t think is fair at all.

  12. purplegiraffe47

    I think some of the unheard voices in history are the children in japanese internment camps. Think of what it would be like to be a kid and to be torn away from your home and all of your things and to not know or understand why any of it was happening to them I think that there are some stories of what it was like to be in the camps, I think that there aren’t a lot of stories of what it was like in Canada and how it felt when they had to leave their home, and I think that sometimes the people who we think of first can have the most interesting stories ❤ ❤ ❤ 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

  13. Jr.fruitcake

    I think there are unheard voices in the story of the home children. The parents point of view is never spoken , the home children them selves have had sympathy from us and duly so, but the parents who had there children taken from them have had nothing from us. Some times children were given to the homes because their parents could not take care of them, but sometimes they are only deemed not capable of caring for their children. In other situations children were put in the homes with the parents permission but were taken to Canada without it, parents were notified once their children were in Canada. Canada’s history is full of voices that were never heard and I think that me saying that should make everyone want to hear them.

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