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I’m sharing these templates here in the hopes that they help you write your own letter. I have to admit that prior to our first Writing Letters for Reconciliation session, I had never written a letter to our Prime Minister about anything. Since the discovery of the remains of children at residential schools a few months ago, I had been meaning to write some letters to show my solidarity and support. And then, after our amazing conversation with David Robertson, author of the beautiful, powerful children’s book on residential schools – “When We Were Alone”, I was even more inspired to write my letters – you can watch an inspiring clip from our conversation here: https://youtu.be/3Oc5EmIVoqM

But I didn’t know what to say in my letter, I didn’t want to get any facts wrong, I didn’t even know what address you send it to. So, I just never got around to writing a letter. I figured there are probably other people in the same situation – you really want to send a letter, but it seems too complicated, and life is busy, and you just don’t get to it. I decided that if I organize these bi-weekly sessions, it will hold me accountable to writing my letters, and I might be able to inspire others to write them as well.

For those of you who want to write a letter, but weren’t able to attend our session, I will include all the templates on all the topics covered to date here, in this one post, for ease of reference. The goal of these templates is to provide the kids with some inspiration and guidance for their letters. They are invited to pick and choose from my suggested sentences, using the wording as is, or changing it as they wish. As always, the amazing kids continue to exceed my expectations with the compassion, kindness, knowledge and courage they write into their letters.

(1) July 29 – Clean Drinking Water in all Indigenous Communities

This is the template that I created for our first Writing Letters for Reconciliation Online Meet-up on July 29. The theme for this meet-up was “Clean Drinking Water in all Indigenous Communities”:

Writing Letters for Reconciliation – Clean Water – Slide Show – PDF

This is a great video to watch with your kids, of the amazing Autumn Peltier, before starting this letter to get a better understanding of the issue – “On National Child Day, meet clean water activist Autumn Peltier” | CBC Kids News: https://youtu.be/A33XRMLBbOc

Check out these recordings of two amazing kids reading their letters:
1. https://youtu.be/tfBGv_AbGcM
2. https://youtu.be/3Yvjc817bXk

(2) Aug 12 – Changes to Child Welfare Services

Here is the template for this topic:

Writing Letters for Reconciliation – Changes to Child Welfare Services – Slide Show – PDF

This is a great video to watch with your kids before starting this letter to get a better understanding of the issue – “Why Indigenous children are overrepresented in Canada’s foster care system”: https://youtu.be/MBLCd7yle8g

Check out this recording of an amazing 10-year old reading her letter:
https://youtu.be/m16R5wsxrfg

This amazing kid went rogue and went way off script. She was inspired to add a part about Alan Lagimodiere and the comment that he made during a press conference, stating that “the residential school system was designed to take Indigenous children and give them the skills and abilities they would need to fit into society as it moved forward” – where Wab Kinew stepped in to challenge him on this. This awesome kid had watched that video previously and could pull it up and apply it to this situation. What?!?! My mind was blown. You can watch the video of this press conference here: https://youtu.be/v5jR8_nZe6A

(3) Aug 26 – Eliminate the Overrepresentation of Indigenous Peoples in Prisons and Jails

Here is the template for this topic:

Writing Letters for Reconciliation – Prisons and Jails – Slide Show – PDF

This is a great video to watch with your kids before starting this letter to get a better understanding of the issue – “Transforming the Criminal Justice System: Indigenous Over-representation – Devon”: https://youtu.be/7d6qrv3nKds

(4) Sept 16 – Residential Schools

Here is the template for this topic:

Writing Letters for Reconciliation – Residential Schools – Slide Show – PDF

Here are two great videos to watch with your kids before starting this letter to get a better understanding of the issue:

1. Residential Schools in Canada: A Timeline – https://youtu.be/VFgNI1lfe0A
2. The survivors of Canada’s residential schools – BBC News – https://youtu.be/KOkcqFQNGrs

(5) Sept 29 – End the Education Funding Gap

Here is the template for this topic:

Writing Letters for Reconciliation – End the education funding gap – Slide Show – PDF

This is a great video to watch with your kids before starting this letter to get a better understanding of the issue – “End The Gap | Fair Funding for First Nations Schools”: https://youtu.be/LchiS8eQ7UM

Check out this amazing letter written by one of the kids who attended this session: https://www.instagram.com/p/CVbnoqIFnAV/

(6) Oct 14 – Close the Gap in Health Outcomes

Here is the template for this topic:

Writing Letters for Reconciliation – Close the Gaps In Health Outcomes – Slide Show – PDF

These are two great videos to watch with your kids before starting this letter to get a better understanding of the issue:

1. Is Canada’s health care system failing patients in northern communities?: https://youtu.be/vWHizv4LHOI
2. Joyce Echaquan’s family calls for justice after her death in Quebec hospital: https://youtu.be/9crl-lcZOEk

(7) Oct 27 – Shannen’s Dream

Here is the template for this topic:

Writing Letters for Reconciliation – Shannen’s Dream – Slide Show – PDF

This is a great video to watch with your kids before starting this letter to get a better understanding of the issue (the whole video is great, but the part that is relevant to Shannen’s Dream is from 3:28 to 7:25) – Reconciliation Begins with You and Me: https://youtu.be/LpYcczGu1Is

Check out this amazing letter written by one of the kids who attended this session: https://www.instagram.com/p/CV6GSSntq6u/