The Indigenous Education Consultant of our school board presented our principal with the idea to take a group of students on an exchange to British Columbia. Our school, Holy Cross, had recently piloted many initiatives surrounding indigenous education, and the chance to travel to a First Nations community in British Columbia seemed like a fantastic opportunity for students who were interested. My time on this exchange, both while we were in Ontario and while we were in British Columbia, exceeded all expectations. When we travelled to the Gitxsan territory, we were fully embraced into their way of life and were given in-depth insight into their culture that I never could have predicted.

Our group consisted of high school students from Peterborough, Ontario. Most of us are currently taking an aboriginal governance course, which is why we were invited to participate in this particular exchange. There were twenty students and three adult chaperones. During the Gitxsan students’ stay in Peterborough, we set out to build familiarity and companionship. It was also very interesting to visit different areas of our own community, many of which our own student group experienced for the first time.

When we arrived in British Columbia, we experienced a blur of activity in a new place very different from our home. Some of the obvious differences had to do with the physical characteristics of the two communities; the Gitxsan territories were much more rural, towns were more dispersed and we were surrounded by expansive mountainous terrain. However, the differences between their community and my own go deeper. The Gitxsan territories we visited had a certain vibrancy that stands as a testament to their cultural resilience. We went into the exchange believing that the other students would be very different from us. We had many preconceived notions of how they would act and what they would be like. When they first arrived, we learned very quickly that we were quite similar in the way that we dressed and acted, and in our concerns and interests. However, I was more surprised during the second half of the exchange when we visited a sweat lodge. We were very apprehensive about the whole experience because we didn’t know what to expect. Then we found out that it was not only going to be our first time experiencing the sweat lodge, but it would also be the first time for many of the Gitxsan students. For me, the experience was even more meaningful knowing that we were able to share this first time experience with our new friends as they reconnected with their own culture.

This exchange was an opportunity to build relationships and get to know each other. It was an opportunity to explore common interests, learn about each other’s cultures, and help each other open up and learn about ourselves. We were nervous during the lead-up to the trip, but everyone involved worked hard to help us feel that we were a part of something great. Going on this exchange greatly impacted how I see myself and my worldview. I came to realize how much I related to Indigenous teachings and respected the longevity of traditional Indigenous culture. Both as a host and as a visitor, I had an exceptional experience that I would recommend to anyone.

I encourage anyone interested in going on an exchange similar to this one to do it.  Keep your mind open to new ideas and experiences, because there is so much to encounter in the two short weeks. Get out of your comfort zone. The best memories I have from the exchange come from times where I pushed myself further than what I was initially comfortable with resulting in the most rewarding experiences.

By Cali Brake

Formulaire de demande – Chorale virtuelle:

Remarque : Les frais de participation sont de 50 $ pour une séance de six semaines ou de 75 $ pour s’inscrire aux deux séances. Cela comprend les répétitions, toute la musique et tout le matériel requis, ainsi que la participation facultative au programme d’échange virtuel. Ces frais seront exigibles une fois qu’ils auront été acceptés dans le programme.

Expériences Canada s’engage à assurer un accès complet à son programme, peu importe la géographie, les capacités ou les circonstances économiques. Les demandes de financement de mesures spéciales limitées sont examinées au cas par cas.

Si vous avez des questions au sujet de la chorale virtuelle ou du processus de demande, veuillez communiquer avec nous à l’adresse communications@experiencescanada.ca.

Les candidatures se terminent le dimanche 7 novembre.

Les répétitions hebdomadaires auront lieu les mardis à 16 h, heure du Pacifique (19 h, HE, 8 h 30, T.-N.-L.), du 9 novembre au 14 décembre et du 1 février au 8 mars.

Virtual Choir application
Address / Adresse *
Address / Adresse
City / Ville
State/Province
Zip/Postal
I identify my gender as / Genre: *
Applications are open to youth 12-17 years old.
Which 6 week session would you like to sign up to (you may select both) / À quelle séance souhaitez-vous vous inscrire:

Tell us about yourself / Parlez-nous un peu de vous

What is your singing experiences / Quelles sont vos expériences en chant: *
List as many that apply
Do you sing high, medium, or low? / Chantez-vous haut, moyen ou bas?
Do you play a musical instrument? / Jouez-vous d’un instrument de musique?
eg: Possible scheduling conflicts

Collection and Use of Personal Information

As the parent/guardian, I hereby give my consent for EXPERIENCES CANADA to collect the personal information required for submission to the EXPERIENCES CANADA Virtual Choir. I understand that this personal information is required for the purposes of selection and program delivery and that it will only be used by EXPERIENCES CANADA or disclosed to select third parties who are acting as suppliers, service providers or who provide funds to EXPERIENCES CANADA and who have agreed to protect the personal information supplied by EXPERIENCES CANADA.

//

En tant que parent/tuteur, j’autorise EXPÉRIENCES CANADA à recueillir tous les renseignements personnels requis pour participer à la Chorale virtuelle d’EXPÉRIENCES CANADA. Je comprends que ces renseignements personnels sont nécessaires aux fins de sélection et d’exécution du programme et qu’ils ne seront employés que par EXPÉRIENCES CANADA ou divulgués à des tierces parties qui agissent à titre de fournisseurs, de fournisseurs de services ou de bailleurs de fonds pour EXPÉRIENCES CANADA et qui ont accepté de protéger les renseignements personnels transmis par EXPÉRIENCES CANADA.

By checking “Yes” I indicate that I freely give my consent to the collection and use of personal information of this participant as set out above. // En cochant « Oui », j’indique que je donne mon libre consentement à la collecte et à l’utilisation des renseignements personnels, tel que décrit ci-dessus. *
I understand that my child may have the opportunity to express himself/herself verbally or in written form, create or appear in photographs and/or video recordings at any point during the EXPERIENCES CANADA virtual choir, individually or as part of the group. / Je comprends que mon enfant peut avoir l’occasion de s’exprimer verbalement ou par écrit, de prendre des photographies/de produire des vidéos, ou d’y figurer, à tout moment dans le cadre du programme de Chorale virtuelle d’EXPÉRIENCES CANADA, individuellement ou en groupe. *

Logo

Send me updates / Envoyez-moi des mises à jour

Sign Up to our Newsletter /
Abonnez-vous à notre Lettre D'information

 

 

 

Sign Up to our Newsletter /
Abonnez-vous à notre Lettre D'information