Faith Jackson looks at residential schools in her Young Citizens project.

Faith Jackson looks at residential schools in her Young Citizens project.

Students strive to be Young Citizens

Videos and written presentations demonstrate a passion for Canada

Faith Jackson knew members of her father’s and mother’s families had attended residential schools. She didn’t know much about what the actual experience was like so she made it the topic of her Heritage Fair presentation.

Then Okanagan Heritage Fair co-ordinator Pat Simmons suggested she enter the Young Citizens Heritage Project, which lets students digitally share historic milestones that matter most to them.

Jackson, a Grade 6 student at BX Elementary School, chose to interview her grandmother and aunts and uncles about their experiences in residential schools.

“I had an idea of how I wanted to create the video and I had done some claymation in school so I knew how to use the camera,” she said.

As a member of the Burns Lake band, she had to go to Prince George to do the video interviews with family members.

“My grandmother and aunts thought it was a good idea to get the news to the public that it wasn’t all bad. My aunt had a good experience because she had dyslexia and she learned to read and write. She was able to protect some of the little kids,” said Jackson.

“The negatives that came out were about the food and how they treated the kids. There was a lot of abuse and it still affects the children that generation had because they didn’t get the parenting skills. I learned a lot more about Canada’s history with the mistake of creating residential schools and the families’ experiences and what happened after that.”

She was able to include photos of the Kamloops residential school and old family photos in the three-minute video which she put together by herself.

“It turned out really well, I think. When we first saw it, it was really emotional for me and my family to watch it because it brought back at lot of memories for them,” she said.

“I think what I learned about making videos is that you don’t put your own priority or expectations too high. You never know how it’s going to go. What you imagine in your head is not what is going to appear on screen. I still really enjoy the video every time I watch it. It’s a reminder of what good things can come from getting involved in the heritage fair and things like Young Citizens. And I got a video camera recorder.”

Jackson expects to enter the heritage fair again (it’s for students in Grades 4 to 10).

She has an idea about the traditions and languages of all the people who make up Canada.

Her video is on the Internet at www.YoungCitizens.ca.

Four local students were selected at the sixth annual Okanagan Regional Heritage Fair to participate in Young Citizens by making videos about their heritage community.

They are Jackson; Cameron Fraser-Monroe, a Grade 7 Harwood student; Cole Strilchuk, a Grade 5 Kidston student; and Nicholas Tiourine, a Grade 6 Silver Star student.

The student videos are now online at www.canadashistory.ca/YoungCitizens/Profiles/2012. Voting continues Aug.7. Only one vote per email address is allowed.

The link can also be found at www.vernonmuseum.ca.

The top two videos in each province and territory, plus an additional six videos selected by Canada’s History judges will go to the final round where the top six videos will be selected.

These students will go to Ottawa to premier their videos at the National History forum, held in conjunction with the Governor General’s History Awards.

Area students attending the provincial heritage fair in Abbotsford until Tuesday are Strikchuk, with his project on Michael Schratter addressing stigma around mental health; BX student Olivia McLennan on Operation Athena; Okanagan Landing  student Chapperon Chillihitzia on kekulis and sweat lodges;  and Fraser-Monroe, with Jack Layton: Your Decision.

Fraser-Monroe and Jackson are attending as alumni advisory committee members.