Close to 100 First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students with the Upper Canada District School Board experienced the Stone Exercise last Wednesday, as a symbolic display of Intergenerational Trauma. The exercise was part of Native Student Leadership Days at Thousand Islands Secondary School.
The activity symbolized how the first generation to suffer in residential schools was burdened by the abuse, represented by a stone in a bag the students had to carry. As the impact of the abuse and injustice was passed on to the next generation, more stones were tossed in the bag, which got heavier and heavier as it was passed down the “family line.” The session was led by Native Learning Partner Bill Montgomery as a way to demonstrate how the stress of federal policies and the residential school system not only impacted natives initially caught in that system, but the generations that followed.
Other activities during the two-day session were: a smudge ceremony, a discussion on native constitutional rights, a talk about the importance of the clan system, and native outdoor games.