With gift of tobacco, Saskatoon students put reconciliation into action
A group of kids at Pleasant Hill Community School are helping make a difference and put reconciliation into action.
Teacher Nancy Barr planted tobacco with her Grade 3 students in the spring and harvested and cut the tobacco with her new Grade 3 students this fall.
Thursday morning, the students gifted 80 packaged of the tobacco to newly appointed senator David Arnot to bring to Ottawa as a sign of reconciliation.
Arnot, who has been Saskatchewan’s Human Rights Commissioner since 2009, said he will use the tobacco to smudge his office and give to people he meets in the capital as a symbol of commitment to making Canada a better place.
John McGettigan, president of the Saskatoon Teachers Association, was there for the ceremony and said it was a touching moment and gives him hope for the future.
“The damage done in residential schools I think can largely be reconciled in schools. I think there’s no better place, actually I don’t think there is any other place where it can really occur. That generation of kids will live reconciliation, I hope, because generations prior lived something very different in schools,” he said.
McGettigan said it’s important children learn about Indigenous culture and that truth and reconciliation happens every day both in schools and in the community.