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Minds On: Meet Jayli Wolf and Analyze her Song

Activity 1: Meet Jayli Wolf and Analyze her Song (15 minutes)

Today we will be focusing on Indigenous and Canadian history. 

We are going to start the lesson by listening to Indigenous artist Jayli Wolf’s song called Child of the Government.

Jaylie Wolf is an Indigenous artist from British Columbia. 

She says this about her song (and this is in your student notebook): 

"From the 1950s into the 1990s, the Canadian Government and the Catholic Church were responsible for taking, or "scooping" more than 20,000 First Nation, Métis, and Inuit children from their families and communities (known as "The Sixties Scoop"). 

They were placed in foster homes or adopted (accounts of children even being sold) into non-Indigenous families across Canada, the United States, and beyond. 

Along with the loss of cultural identity, the government went so far as to change some children's true ethnicity on file. Many experienced severe sexual, physical, and emotional abuse.

My father was one of these children.

All the children that were misplaced can never ever get back what was stolen from them. 

Survivors try their best. My dad and I are lucky because we were able to find our way back home to our blood family, to our community, to each other even. 

But that's not the story for everyone. Some kids were sold to the USA, or even as far as Australia. Some survivors have since learned that their biological family has passed - those ties are broken forever. 

I am lucky that I found my way back home, but now the work starts. Now the reclamation begins for me. That's why I want to talk about this

To the people who say Indigenous people need to get over it, this was happening up until the 1990s. 

People aren't going to get over the fact that they were ripped out of the arms of their mothers and that the government lied on the adoption papers of these people to make it appear that they weren't Indigenous… that they were sold to other countries. What does it mean to get over it? Do they mean to forget? Because as a society, we don't learn when we forget. That's not what I want for our country.

The truth should be known and talked about. We can forgive though.

We can forgive for our own healing. 

The road ahead is long and change takes time.

But we are not going to forget and I have hope we are on the right path."

Source: “Meet Jayli Wolf, the Queer Indigenous Survivor of a Doomsday Cult”. Ones to Watch.

As you listen, I want you to think about the examples of racism and injustice she is alluding to in the song.

Play: Jayli Wolf - "Child of the Government"

What examples of racism and injustice does she allude to in her song? The lyrics are in your student notebook.

To understand more deeply about Indigenous and Canadian History, watch the video in Extension A.