Theodore Fontaine's Impact and Legacy

Posted by Facing History and Ourselves Canada on May 3, 2024

"As Rabbi Jonathan Sacks has written, there is a difference between history and memory: “History is information.  Memory, by contrast, is part of identity… Memory is the past as present, as it lives on in me.”  Survivors, witnesses, the descendants of those who lived through [histories], and all those who learn about [these histories] today face the question of how to remember the past and how that memory might shape our understanding of ourselves and our present world" (Holocaust and Human Behavior, Facing History and Ourselves, 2017. p. 598).

In his testimony sharing,teaching and life, residential school survivor, and self-described victor, Theodore Fontaine frequently explored how memory lives on in the present:  His family’s love, the horrors of residential schooling, the joys of friendship, and the healing power of connection shaped and reshaped his life, his teachings and his works. In so sharing, those who listened became witnesses to his experiences, and many were transformed as a result.   

The following interviews build on our event, Learning from Theodore Fontaine: A Call for Lasting Change, and draw on the voices of additional friends and colleagues whose life and work act as living examples of Theodore’s teachings, his legacy and calls to action. We hope that these interviews will prompt deeper learning from Theodore and inspire readers to consider how his testimony and legacies might shape our understanding of ourselves and the choices we make.  

To watch his recorded testimony, please check out our blog, Honouring and Remembering Chief Theodore Niizhotay Fontaine.

As you read these interviews:

  • What insights do you gain about Theodore’s legacy and his hopes for the future?
  • What questions do the interview responses raise for you about yourself or the world around you?
  • How do the responses extend or challenge your thinking about the possibilities for living with trauma, hope and healing?
  • How are you reflecting on the possibilities for healing, hope and courage after trauma, as you read these reflections?

For Ted, real reconciliation came through everyday acts of generosity and kindness. Our breakfast meetings were often punctuated by Ted recognizing passers-by and stopping them for a quick hello and always a joke... He connected, related, and celebrated their shared existence, and thereby cultivated knowledge and nurtured learning..."

- Andrew Woolford

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Topics: Survivor Testimony, Canada, Residential Schools, Canadian History, Indigenous History, Indigenous, stolen lives, student activism, Action

How do we teach Chinese-Canadian Narratives in Classrooms? (Part II)

Posted by Timothy J. Stanley on April 23, 2024

How can educators approach the integration of diverse and underrepresented Chinese Canadian narratives in ways that go beyond checking identity inclusion boxes or relying on deficit narratives and stories of victimization?  We invited antiracism researcher, educator and historian of Chinese in Canada, Timothy J. Stanley, Emeritus Professor at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Education, to work with us to lay out foundational understandings that can help us approach the inclusion of Chinese Canadian narratives in classrooms through an antiracist lens.  

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How do we teach Chinese Canadian Narratives in Classrooms? (Part I)

Posted by Timothy J. Stanley on April 16, 2024

In this blog post you will find practical ideas, gain key understandings and uncover fascinating histories that will inform and enhance your capacity to teach Chinese Canadian narratives through an anti-racist approach in this two-part blog series by researcher, educator and historian of Chinese people in Canada, Timothy J. Stanley

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Four Classroom Lessons for Treaties Recognition Week

Posted by Andrew McConnell and Maria Savvides on October 30, 2023

“We are all treaty people” is a phrase often used in Ontario to remind us of the agreements that have helped form Canada, but when we look nationally this is not true: Much of British Columbia is without treaty, and in the Territories there are other agreements like the creation of Nunavut, that serve to demonstrate different ways of being in good relations. It is important that we understand the role and significance of treaties - and consider the importance and implications of non-treatied lands and territorial agreements - our responsibility to these important agreements and the ramifications of not having them or not honouring them. 

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Announcing our newest Program staff member

Posted by Amanda Baric on September 7, 2023

L to R:  Facing History staff Lorrie Gallant and Jasmine Wong snap a quick selfie with our newest staff member Amanda Baric, and Elder Sherlene Bomberry, during a summer workshop


Hello, my name is Amanda (she/her). I am an educator, a certified yoga therapist, and a graduate student in the department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), U of T, where I am completing my Masters thesis in wellbeing in education and holistic pedagogy. During my graduate studies, I have also developed and delivered trauma-sensitive group wellness workshops and communities of practice for pre-service teachers at OISE. 

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Canadian Resources for International Women's Day

Posted by Facing History and Ourselves Canada on March 7, 2023

March 8th is International Women's Day, which coincides with Women’s History Month in the United States. While women and their contributions have been excluded from recorded history in many societies, women storytellers have ensured that their achievements are shared and celebrated. We hope these guiding questions and resource collections help in your inclusion of diverse women stories whether on International Women's Day, during Women's History Month in October and throughout the school year:

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Disability Rights in Canada

Posted by Jon Sorokowski on January 10, 2023

The Facing History and Ourselves All-Community Read of Judith Heumann’s memoirs Being Heumann and the YA adaptation Rolling Warrior allows teachers to spotlight disability rights. I picked up Rolling Warrior after learning about Judith Heumann in the documentary Crip Camp, and I quickly realized how little I knew about disability rights, especially in the Canadian context. In preparation for teaching Rolling Warrior, I scoured the internet and libraries for some student-friendly resources. Teachers may find the following resources helpful to incorporate learning about disability rights in Canada into their All-Community Read.

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Topics: Book, Disability education, all community read

All Community Read: Teaching Rolling Warrior and Being Heumann

Posted by Facing History and Ourselves Canada on November 16, 2022

  • Looking for resources to weave disability representation into your literature equity and inclusion work?
  • Interested in receiving a free class set of books by disability justice warrior, Judith Heumann?  (first come first serve, read below to find out more!)
  • Are you a middle and/or high school teacher of English Language Arts, humanities, social studies, civics and/or Special Education?

Facing History & Ourselves’ 2022-23 All Community Read will be a collective journey of transformation supported by an educator workshop and author event. We will engage in conversation around the young adult and adult versions of Judith Heumann’s memoirs:

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Topics: Books, English Language Arts, Professional Development, Online Workshop, ELA, Community, English Classroom, English, Disability education, book club

Dos and Don'ts As you Plan for Orange Shirt Day 2022

Posted by Lorrie Gallant and Jasmine Wong on September 21, 2022

Friday, September 30th marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and Orange Shirt Day.  A day for public reckoning with Canada’s Residential School system and solidarity with survivors, those who did not survive these institutions, as well as on their families and communities.   It is also a day for public accountability and (re)commitment to the ongoing process for forging renewed recognition of rights, understandings and relationships between Canada, Canadians, and Indigenous Nations, communities and peoples.

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Topics: Truth and Reconciliation, classroom lesson, Orange Shirt Day

5 Books We're Reading this Summer

Posted by Facing History and Ourselves Canada office staff on June 13, 2022

As the summer approaches, each of our Canada office staff are eager to find a comfortable spot on a couch or in the sun, with a cup of cold water, tea or coffee and pick up a book.  Here's what we're reading this summer!

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Topics: Books, Reading, Summer, Reading List


This is where Canadian Facing History and Ourselves teachers and community members meet to share reflections, scholarship and teaching practices that will inspire, challenge and improve teaching and student learning. Our stories provide a window into diverse Facing History classrooms in Canada, and invite you into the discussion.

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