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Ten year old Lawrence spends the summer with his Cree family collecting the bounties of nature, experiencing traditional customs and learning the wisdom of the elders. However, he soon realizes that his life will never be the same as he is forced into the residential school system. Beautiful sensory imagery guides readers through the author's personal connections to the land and his people, while teaching students that they must speak out against any injustice that tries to destroy generations of cultural identity.
This book is extremely timely and relevant in Canada's current political climate and supports Aboriginal Studies lessons and Social Studies content examining prejudice and stereotypes. Many schools are already using Gord Downie's “The Secret Path” as a teaching resource and this book would make an ideal accompaniment to discussions about the life and death of Chanie Wenjack.
An innovative classroom project could invite First Nations community members to a “Sharing Circle” where students and staff describe their cultural identity and customs. This event could then become the basis of a school music video that features traditional drumming and student composed lyrics promoting diversity and acceptance.
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