I have always been obsessed with photos and as I got older this passion started to expand into a love for photography, photoshopping, and scrapbooking. I wanted to express my journey to reconciliation by creating something I am passionate about. So, I eventually came up with an idea influenced by SGI’s drinking and driving ads. These advertisements always really pull at my heartstrings and make you feel the emptiness the family does after losing someone.

I thought about how Aboriginal families felt when their children were forcefully taken away from them and put into residential schools and how they must have felt a similar emptiness. So, I found photos and photoshopped the children out of the pictures, leaving just the black outline of where they used to stand. I feel like having a black background represented an abyss of trauma, abuse, loss of culture, and depression. The black background could also represent the children who didn’t survive residential schools and never had the chance to have a better future. I wanted to make something that people could interpret different ways or make people feel uncomfortable and overwhelmed with emotion.

I know that my journey to reconciliation is just beginning, but I also know that making even the slightest effort to decolonize my classroom and incorporate many different ways of knowing in my classroom will make the world of difference for all students.