TORONTO, ON — Rubicon Author and Series Editor Robert Cutting presented two workshops to two diverse groups on June 8 and 9. On June 8, he gave a talk to two groups of ELL adults in Whitby about the early history of the People of Turtle Island and how they are coping in the present in Canada. This was part of their subject matter on the Indigenous People of Canada. Robert explained, through storytelling, drumming and flute playing, how the People see themselves as part of the land and being interconnected with all of Creation. The participants had many questions and were appreciative of the time spent learning more about the Original People of Canada.
On June 9, Robert presented to a group of Grade 9 and 11 students at Fr. Leo J. Austin CS in Whitby surrounding the work of the Grade 11 students as letter writers to survivors of the residential school system. Robert gave a brief history of the residential schools and why they were implemented, along with the damage they caused among the various cultures of the People. He finished with a drumming lament song for those who did not survive, then smudged the group, their letters to the survivors, and an artwork of tiles created to commemorate the lost children from the schools.
“Doing presentations like these two always remind me of the responsibility we have as educators to give varying views on the world and help the students, both teenage and adult, see themselves as part of, not separate from, different people and cultures. Again, as with all my talks, I am humbled by the participants and their questions. I am buoyed by them to continue on my path.”