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Spirit Bear and Children Make History: Based on a True Story

"Hello! My name is Sus Zul in the Carrier language. In English, people call me Spirit Bear. I am a proud member of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council. I am on my way to Ottawa, Ontario, to witness a very important human rights case. Would you join me on this journey?"

When Spirit Bear's mom tells him about an important human rights case happening in Ottawa, Ontario, he makes the LONG trip (by train, his favourite way to travel) to go and watch, and to stand up for First Nations kids.

And he isn't the only one! Lots of children come too — to listen, and to show they care. Spirit Bear knows that children can change the world because he's there to see it happen.

This is the story of how kids — kids just like you — made a difference ... with a bit of help from some bears and other animals along the way!"

Educator Information
Spirit Bear and Children Make History tells the story of a landmark human rights case for First Nations children at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. Nine years after the case was filed, the Tribunal ruled that the government of Canada was racially discriminating against 165,000 First Nations children by underfunding child welfare and failing to provide equitable public services. The book contributes to the Indigenization of curriculum by centering the agency, histories and realities of First Nations children and communities. The story supports an Indigenous pedagogical approach by encouraging critical and independent thought. In keeping with Indigenous pedagogy, Spirit Bear teaches readers about Indigenous worldviews and values not through direct instruction, but through the modelling of ethical and respectful behaviour and action.

Spirit Bear and Children Make History addresses a gap in reconciliation education. There are few Canadian books for children linking reconciliation with social justice. Meaningful reconciliation in Canada requires the active engagement of children and youth. It also requires a critical and social justice approach that links the residential school system to contemporary inequities and discrimination. Educating children and families about contemporary inequities creates a foundation for change and challenges the myth that colonialism is a thing of the past.

Spirit Bear and Children Make History was written to engage a younger audience in learning about the child welfare case, and to demonstrate and affirm the powerful role of young people in the reconciliation movement. Inspired by the voices of children, and in keeping with to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, the story highlights the power of people of all ages and backgrounds to make a difference for First Nations children and families.

Recommended Grades: K-6

Additional Information
54 pages | 8.25" x 8.25"