Google Earth Voyageur develops residential school story primer for school students
- EFN Staff | December 13, 2017
School boards across Canada have been looking for educational resources to help the process of reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous Peoples begin. Teachers will now have a primer on Canada’s residential schools.
Canadian Geographic Education (Can Geo Education), the first Canadian organization to produce Google Earth Voyager content, has worked closely with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) of the University of Manitoba to create an educational tool that will help students learn about this dark chapter in Canadian history.
“This is a harrowing tale but required learning on our journey towards reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous Peoples,” said Ellen Curtis, Director of Can Geo Education in a media release. “Our Google Earth Voyager residential school story provides a much-needed primer for elementary and secondary school students.”
This tale about Canada’s residential schools is the latest installment in Google Earth’s Voyager series. Google has been working with prestigious partners, such as NASA, BBC, and now, Can Geo Education, to bring storytelling functionality to its popular Google Earth mapping service.
Told through a geographic lens, the Google Earth Voyager residential school story shows students where each school is located on a map of Canada, and often providing an overhead view of the school itself. The story explains why the schools were built, what attending a residential school was like for Indigenous children, the effects of the system on students, and how residential school survivors are working to move forward.
The poignant testimonials of residential school survivors, providing detailed accounts of their abuse inside this educational system, will have an indelible impact on readers. These honest accounts of childhood loss and abuse will hopefully help students to break down any learned prejudices and build understanding that will aid in the reconciliation process.
“The Google Earth’s Voyageur residential school story is an extremely important tool that encourages discussion in a way that compliments the learning styles of today’s students,” said Ry Moran, Director of the NCTR. “This is exactly what we need for a tough topic like the residential school story, if reconciliation is to begin.”
Residential schools for First Nations, Métis and Inuit children were first established in 1831 and ran for 165 years until 1996. This system had one goal: to forcibly assimilate Canada’s Indigenous Peoples into the non-Indigenous population.