We are a class of grade 5 and 6 students attend St. Elizabeth School in Thunder Bay, Ontario. We grateful that your daughter-in-law Christy wrote the book “Fatty Legs” to share your story. We have learned so much from you and your family. We would like to share our learning with YOU!
November 13, 2017
Today we had a very lengthy discussion about this quote, the words your father said to you, before agreeing to let you go to residential school:
We were able to relate the advice your father gave you to our own lives. We think that your father understood that he wasn’t going to be able change your mind about wanting to go to residential school to learn to read. He knew that the school would change you, just as the water in an ocean changes a rock and wanted to make you aware of this. By telling you this story he gave you the determination to not change.
We are faced with many things and people in our lives who try to change us as well; some for the better and some for the worse. Your father’s words reminded us to be mindful of how we are being shaped by the influences in our own lives. We also understand that it is not fair and wrong to try to change someone when they don’t want to be changed. We’d like to share what your father’s “story of the stone” meant to each of us…
November 14, 2017
Today we made a connection between your story and a book we just finished. Paddle to the Sea is about a young Ojibwe boy named Kyle who carves a canoe and places it in the Nipigon River. We travelled with Paddle, through the great lakes on his journey to the Atlantic ocean. Both Paddle and you (Olemun) want to go on their journeys. But the difference is that your father didn’t want you to go, Kyle, Paddle’s creator has a hard time letting Paddle go, but in his heart, he wants him to go.
We retraced Paddle’s route again; the land of the Ojibwe, Huron, Iroquois and Sioux.
Then we traced the route you would travel from your home on Banks Island to Aklavik; the land of the Inuvialuit.
This also led us to a conversation about what life would be like on Banks Island so we tried to put ourselves in Olemaun’s kamiks. Just like living in Thunder Bay, there would be many pros and cons.
Below are a few of our pros and cons lists…
As we continued to read, we could only imagine how felt when you finally reached Aklavik. You must have had so many mixed emotions. We wonder how your feelings changed when you first saw your new school and home.
Did you feel any of these emotions?
November 15, 2017
Yesterday we finished the day with Mr. C reading the next part of “Fatty Leg” we felt terrible when your long, beautiful hair was cut and discussed why the nuns at the school would do such a thing. We were wondering how they could do such a thing which also led us to a discussion about how they felt as well.
Today many of our classmates are away from school for a variety of reasons. As much as we wanted to continue reading, we only felt it was fair to wait for the rest of our class to return. We were really curious about the Inuvialuit culture and its history. Mr. C shared this video which gave a great timeline, from 800 years ago to the present.
We discussed how your land and its people were forever changed when the European’s (Tan’ngit) arrived.
Mr.C gave us the chance to take a “virtual” journey from your home on Banks Island to Aklavik.
It must have been a very long and arduous, yet exciting and beautiful journey. You come from a land of immense beauty. We were excited to begin our photo albums of our virtual trip! Below are a few “snap shots” of pages from our photo album.
November 20, 2017
Today we travelled with you, during your first few days at the residential school in Aklavik. It must have been a very difficult experience for you to leave your home on Banks Islands and start a new life at your new school. We had a hard time even imagining how different and difficult life must have been. As we listened to your story we began to compare and contrast your two “homes”….
November 22, 2017
This week is “Bullying Prevention Week”. We attended a presentation on bullying giving by our community police officer. As we continued to read “Fatty Legs”, we recognized that the Raven was most likely a bully. We listened for evidence from the text and used our own schema to write opinion pieces on whether or not we believed The Raven was a bully.
Below are a couple of our completed opinion pieces…
We could help but realize how Sister MacQuillan was so different from The Raven. It must have been a great comfort to have the beautiful “Swan” watching out for you.
We loved how, in the end, you used your strength and determination to stand up to “The Raven”. We were very proud of you!
November 23, 2017
We received this email from your daughter in law, and co-author Christy, today!
We would LOVE to be able to talk with you “in person” via a Google Hangout or Skype call! We would like to tell you how you have inspired us and helped us to learn and grow! Please let us know when we can chat!
Mr. C’s Class
… to be continued!