The Life Story of Mary Courchene
The title of this project came from conversations with Mary, who, in speaking about her experiences in residential school, said “The priests and nuns tried to change who we were, but they failed. We knew who we were and we still spoke our language. When we could not resist out loud, we resisted on the Giimooch (in secret). These acts helped us survive, to preserve our senses of self, our spirits and through our resistance and resilience, we fought to hold onto who we were, through the whispers on the school ground in Anishinaabemowin and despite the fact that we lived in these institutions we were still doing it our way…on the Giimooch”.
Elder Mary Courchene spent 10 years in a Residential School. In a series of lessons and videos Mary and her family share her story, and the ways in which they have carried the Residential School experience for generations. The lessons were created to honour all the children who never made it home, and whose stories we will never hear. This work was created to honour Mary’s voice, so that her story and others like hers will never be forgotten.
Lesson Plans: The Four Directions
Resistance on the Giimooch Teacher’s Guide follows the Anishinaabe teachings of the Four Directions, the guide is informed by learnings from Knowledge Keeper Sherry Copenace and a summary by Elder Dan Thomas. The project is a collaboration between MTS and Seven Oaks School Division.
Lesson 1: Mino Pimatisiwin (The Good Life)
Lesson 2: Land, Language, and Identity
Lesson 3: “The Best Years of my Life”
Lesson 4: Stages of Life
Lesson 5: Displacement
Lesson 6: Fear
Lesson 7: Residential Schools, Thousands of Stories
Lesson 8: History of Education and Schools
Lesson 9: Who am I?
Lesson 10: Finding Her Way
Lesson 11: Life as an Educator
Lesson 12: The Four Essential Questions
Lesson 13: Blood Memory
Lesson 14: Unmarked Graves
Lesson 15: The Apology and Reconciliation
Lesson 16: Mino Pimatisiwin (The Good Life)