Middle School Wins Contest By Building a City for Reconciliation
‘Our Country the Real Winner’ says organizer
Today the winners of the #craftreconciliation challenge were announced. Students in Canadian schools were asked to collaborate across Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities by researching local Indigenous cultures and history, discussing their visions for reconciliation and then building a model for reconciliation in the online game Minecraft.
Hundreds of students participated across dozens of schools in provinces across the country, including both students in urban centres and on First Nations. Many collaborated across video conferences. Others gathered in person to hear the stories of residential school survivors. One school even went to visit a former residential school and then built a replica of that school in Minecraft, though their virtual school plans to use education to foster reconciliation rather than assimilation. Others took their plans offline and painted murals. Still other students made memes to battle stereotypes.
The grand prize winner of $1000 is Mother Teresa Middle School in Regina, SK who built a massive futuristic, virtual city where Indigenous cultures are celebrated. Their world connected neighbourhoods across cultural, faith and community lines. It includes a hospital with a monument to the “twisted” nature of the treaties, a church and a language school to revive Indigenous languages. Their city also featured a gathering place which acts as a stunning focal point for their town. The entrants also submitted the entire project via a well produced and edited video.
View the video submitted by the winners:
The 2nd prize winner of $500 is School District 74 in Lillooet, BC who visited the former Kamloops Indian Residential School during their research and then built a virtual museum space so that they could “re-enact what happened” in residential schools for visitors. There were actually many entries from the schools in Lillooet, BC which had many excellent ideas for facilitating reconciliation. The museum was chosen in particular because it most closely reflected the trip that some students in the division took to the former residential school. It’s great to see students of many different age groups getting engaged across an entire school division, especially on a topic like reconciliation.
The 3rd prize winner of $250 Midland Secondary School in Midland, ON. The Midland students were inspired by a list created by youth in Attawapiskat that the northern Ontario First Nation needs. The Midland youth then set out and built in Minecraft those very things, including a community garden, a new school and a new hockey rink.
The prize money will be distributed to the schools to be used how they see fit. Some possible uses might be to donate to Indigenous communities and charities, or to distribute to participating students to advance their educations.
“I am thrilled and completely blown away by the calibre of entries in the #craftreconciliation challenge,” said Wab Kinew, a challenge organizer. “Even more important than that though, is the collaboration between students from all walks of life who worked together to dialogue about reconciliation. That fills me with real hope for the future of this country. Congratulations to each of the participating schools on a job well done, but our country is the real winner here.”
The finalists were selected by Kinew, and then judged by a jury including some elementary students who are big fans of Minecraft themselves.
Minecraft is a copyright of Microsoft who retain all rights. This challenge is in no way affiliated with Microsoft.