As part of the Network of Sacred Heart Schools, The Sacred Heart School of Montreal prepares and inspires its students to be active, informed, and responsible citizens. Every important event at school begins with the recognition that The Sacred Heart School of Montreal is located on unceded Indigenous lands; that as an inclusive and open minded place of learning, we are committed to learning about past events; and that the St. Lawrence Iroquoians, the Mohawk, and the Huron-Wendat Nations are recognized as the custodians of the lands and waters on which we gather. In this spirit, the all girls English Catholic high school recently invited three indigenous speakers to speak to staff and students.
On March 27, traditional healing counselor Tom Dearhouse and residential school survivor Deacon Ron Boyer Sr. spoke to grade 11 students. Tom Dearhouse is Ojibway/Mohawk from Kahnawake. Deacon Ron Boyer Sr. is Ojibway from Northern Ontario; he is a recipient of the Diamond Jubilee Medal; he attended St. Joseph’s Boys School in Spanish, Ontario.
On April 11, Sacred Heart alumna Nina Segalowitz, a Sixties Scoop survivor, spoke and performed throat-singing in front of the entire school body, accompanied by her daughter Sierra. Nina was taken from her Inuvialuit/Chipweyan family in Fort Smith, N.W.T. in what became known as the Sixties Scoop, and was adopted by an unwitting family in Montreal; throat singing became a way for her to heal, and she has performed across Europe and North America. It was a very emotional and moving presentation about her journey back to her roots. “You carry my story and that gives me hope. I’m going to carry you with me,” said Ms. Segalowitz to the students.
“The Social Science Department is dedicated to encouraging our students to critically engage with Canada’s complex and contentious history. To enrich our curriculum, we believe it is imperative that we also give a voice to Native communities in order to receive a true and profound account of their experience,” said Social Science and Ethics & Religious Culture teacher and Sacred Heart alumna Maria Cusma.
Indigenous Resources at the Library
Moved by Ms. Segalowitz’s presentation, school librarian Ms. Harrison, brought forward some indigenous resources that can be viewed and borrowed at the school library.
Schools of the Sacred Heart share in the educational mission of the Society of the Sacred Heart as articulated in the Goals and Criteria. The structure supporting Sacred Heart education in Canada and the United States includes the Conference of Sacred Heart Education and the Network of Sacred Heart Schools. Together they provide services and programs to ensure vitality of mission for the member schools sponsored by the Society of the Sacred Heart.