Carleton U: Unique Educational Experience to Contribute to Canada’s National Reconciliation Process
Carleton University’s Stories North is a unique educational experience for journalism students that provides a hands-on introduction to Indigenous communities and life in the Yukon. This year, the program is being supported by almost $250,000 in funding from the Mastercard Foundation.
“There’s nothing like seeing students’ eyes light up as they grapple with challenging and socially vital issues,” said Kanina Holmes, associate professor in Carleton’s School of Journalism and Communication. “I am extremely grateful to the Mastercard Foundation for supporting a vision of education that puts youth at the centre of building towards a Canada where reconciliation could one day be a reality.”
From June 29 to July 29, 2018, a group of 20 Carleton journalism students will head to Whitehorse and other Yukon communities to take part in the program. Stories North attempts to address some of the challenges the Truth and Reconciliation Commission extended to educators, journalists and all Canadians. This reporting course will provide these 20 students with an introduction to Yukon First Nations’ cultures, histories and will also build awareness about colonization, reconciliation, traditional knowledge, climate change, resource development, self-governance and the arts.
This will be the second summer for Stories North. It launched last year with support from a teaching award and community crowdfunding. Students who took part in the summer of 2017 say their time in the Yukon was life altering in terms of gaining knowledge and understanding of the ongoing impacts of residential schools, as well as in providing a more sophisticated and nuanced view of this part of Canada’s North.
“Stories North is a critical learning opportunity for next-generation journalists that tells unexpected stories from northern communities,” said Jennifer Brennan, associate director, Canadian Programs at the Mastercard Foundation. “Stories North takes its mandate from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action 84, 85 and 86, and will foster a greater understanding of the challenges and possibilities that Canada’s national reconciliation process represents.”
Stories North provides students with a rare opportunity to learn from direct experience with a remote, complex and vibrant part of Canada.
“Much of Canada is discussing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, but 86 percent of the population has never interacted with them first-hand in Canada’s North,” said master’s student Jennifer Liu, who will be making the trip up this year. “For us to have an entire month to engage with their pains, their traditions and their triumphs is essential to understanding them from a place of respect — to complement our research and what we’ve heard about their story.”
The program targets Canadian journalism students, the next generation of reporters and communicators who are keen to learn and gain professional experience. Without support, most students would never be able to take time away from a summer job to study and travel. By working with Northern stakeholders, participants will engage in peer-to-peer learning and workshops to share experiences, teach multimedia storytelling and contribute to Shakat, a new multimedia website focused on Indigenous cultural reclamation, youth, elders and community.
To get a glimpse of the impact of the course on two Carleton students, watch this two-minute video: https://vimeo.com/232065312 .
About the Mastercard Foundation
The Mastercard Foundation seeks a world where everyone has the opportunity to learn and prosper. The Foundation’s work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion for people living in poverty. One of the largest foundations in the world, it works almost exclusively in Africa. It was created in 2006 by Mastercard International and operates independently under the governance of its own Board of Directors. The Foundation is based in Toronto. For more information and to sign up for the Foundation’s newsletter, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org. Follow the Foundation at @MastercardFdn on Twitter.
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