Orangeville District Secondary school student wins national poem contest for Truth and Reconciliation

June 1, 2023   ·   0 Comments


Gabby Thompson is counted among a distinguished dozen.

The Orangeville District Secondary School student penned a poem chosen to be one of 12 from across the country that won the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation 2022-2023 “Imagine a Canada” contest.

The chosen poems will be published in the centre’s annual publication. Thompson has also been invited to travel to Winnipeg on June 8 to attend an event at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

“My poem is a piece about hope, specifically my hope for the future,” she said. “This poem is my goal and something I can’t wait to see happen.”

Thompson’s only been writing poetry for about a year, she said. But she’s been writing short stories since her days in Grade 3.

The poem strings together images of Canada’s aboriginal past heightened in importance in everyday life.

“Making beaded medallions in math class

Identifying plant medicines in biology

Learning Ojibwe, Anishinaabemowin, along with French

Manoomin and bannock in the cafeteria

Knowledge keepers and elders next to teachers

All people partners,” reads the poem.

Thompson said Canadians would benefit from a better appreciation of traditional knowledge and practices.

“Personally, I think Indigenous or traditional knowledge is very important in this world and should be taught in schools by knowledge keepers and elders,” she said. “Some of my favourite lessons have been taught to me by knowledge keepers, and because of that, I can say that all students would benefit from the teachings they can give.”

Truth and reconciliation was introduced to her at school, she said, when she participated in Orange Shirt Day.

“I was told the story of Orange Shirt Day in seventh grade and have informed many people of it, including one of my high school gym teachers,” she said.

“I have learned many of the truths that have been buried or glossed over and continue to learn the truth of the atrocities committed against Indigenous peoples.”

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