**** NS Government Media Release
School Pilot Program Shares History of Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children
Students in two Nova Scotia high schools are receiving a virtual glimpse into the lives of former residents of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children.
Grade 11 Canadian History students at Auburn Drive High School and Hants North Rural High School are taking part in the Digital Oral Histories for Reconciliation project, which combines oral histories of former residents and virtual reality to help students learn about a difficult chapter in provincial history.
The two-week unit includes lessons on the home’s significance in African Nova Scotian history, how the home became a place of harm for many former residents and how students can act to address the home’s legacy. It’s the first curriculum of its kind to use personal storytelling and immersive technology to address a historical harm. It will eventually be available across the province.
“Part of the Restorative Inquiry’s mandate is to educate Nova Scotians about our past so we can build a better future for African Nova Scotians and for all Nova Scotians. We’re pleased that students are learning this important part of our history firsthand from the stories and experiences of former residents.”
– Tony Smith, co-chair, Restorative Inquiry Council and former resident of the home
“Students in Nova Scotia are at the forefront of an innovative way of learning about difficult issues in the past.”
– Kristina Llewellyn, director, Digital Oral Histories for Reconciliation
“This is an example of how education is empowering. I think students can influence and make a difference regarding the historical wrongs of the past by hearing the stories from the residents of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children.”
– Karen Hudson, principal, Auburn Drive High School
— the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children opened in 1921 as an institution for black children who were not welcome in mainstream orphanages. Residents experienced institutionalized racism and abuse during the home’s history
— the province formally apologized to former residents in 2014 and committed to a public inquiry
— the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children Restorative Inquiry will conclude its mandate and release its final report on Nov. 28
— partners in the Digital Oral Histories for Reconciliation project include the Restorative Inquiry; Victims of Institutional Child Exploitation Society (VOICES); African Canadian Services Division, Department of Education and Early Childhood Education; Chignecto Central Regional Centre for Education; Halifax Regional Centre for Education; Faculty of Education, University of New Brunswick; and the Games Institute and Renison University College, University of Waterloo
For more information on the Restorative Inquiry, visit https://restorativeinquiry.ca/