Inspiring change through learning
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Rather than simply educate her students about the crisis in Attawapiskat, Brock lecturer Sherri Vansickle hoped to inspire them to create change. As part of her Indigenous Culture and Early Childhood Education course, Vansickle introduced a social justice component that encouraged her students to make a difference in the Northern Ontario community. Home to about 2,000 people, Attawapiskat has long been in a vulnerable state, but was recently plagued by suicides that have left the community in crisis. Vansickle, with Brock’s Tecumseh Centre for Aboriginal Research and Education, shared history of the area with her students in addition to addressing residential schools, systemic racism and the poverty that exists in Aboriginal communities. In January, the class decided to launch a campaign to collect clothing, hygiene products and school and medical supplies to ship to children, adults and seniors in Attawapiskat. About 25 large boxes of goods were collected, and the donations were divided into care packages for shipping.

“It’s about having input in your learning journey. [The students] began learning about First Nations issues and then had a chance to make a real difference in people’s lives.”
Sherri Vansickle
Brock University lecturer
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