Obiter Dicta Issue 6 - November 17, 2014 - Page 16

OPINION 16  Obiter Dicta Human rights » continued from page 7 to represent the journey towards greater recognition and protection of human rights. While structurally beautiful, the association of darkness with ‘bad/backwards’, and lightness with ‘good/forwards’ is a troubling one, especially for a human rights museum. The second last exhibit showcases Canada’s military for “Protecting Human Rights Abroad”. We are as a group mostly shocked by the placement of this exhibit (albeit, a temporary one) so near the ‘pinnacle’ of human rights achievement. The tour ends up in the building’s glass pinnacle, the “Israel Asper Tower of Hope”. From high in the tower, we gaze down at the Winnipeg streets, sprawling outwards. From this height you can’t see it, but if you walk the streets on the ground, the class divide between white people and First Nations peoples in Winnipeg is stark. This beautiful, enormous, powerful stone building. Who is it for? t humbs UP Toronto’s win over the Orlando Magic. A win’s a win, right? Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art (MAWA) At the end of our first day in Winnipeg, we walked from the museum to MAWA for a public performance by Julie Lassonde with the theme of domestic violence. Julie introduced us to her creative process with a workshop before our trip, a talk prior to her performance, and a Q&A following. In performing her piece, “Permission”, Julie used sound and movement to express a story of trauma, survival, and transcendence. To me, she communicated to us an important emotional narrative that was missing at the museum. The Winnipeg Indian and Metis Friendship Centre Visiting the IMFC was a highlight of the trip for many of us. It was a privilege to be able to meet with three Anishinaabe First Nations people – IMFC executive director Jim Sinclair, Ted Fontaine (author of Broken Circle: The Dark Legacy of Indian Residential Schools), and Ko’ona Cochrane (an Idle No More activist) living in Winnipeg. We were privileged to hear their stories of residential school abuse and discriminatory treatment in the child welfare system and legal system, and to learn about the struggle to restore their collective cultural identity. It was at times uncomfortable for some of us, which I think was probably just right. I think we should feel uncomfortable when hearing about Canada’s treatment of First Nations peoples. Julie Lassonde performed again, on the stage at the IMFC. Her piece was based on a Nanabush story recounted in John Borrows’ Recovering Canada: The Resurgence of Indigenous Law. Throughout her piece, she worked through the idea of struggling to find balance when doing emotionally charged human rights work. Experiential education This trip allowed us to meet directly with the people we seek to serve. It allowed us to connect as a group and build collective strength. I felt how strong we were together as a group. Social change largely happens through collective action, and so this is why I think it’s so important that we find ways to foster community collaboration at Osgoode. Because that’s what so many of us are here ê Above: In the gallery “Protecting Rights in Canada”, xurator Armando Perla shows us a moving projection that illustrates the “living tree” doctrine of Canadian constitutional law. Below: Walking Winnipeg’s streets. Photo credit: Eriq Yu for – to learn how to spur social change. But coming back to school, I suddenly noticed how separate we can be at school. When I walk around the halls, I have the feeling like I’m on a racetrack, and while we’re all racing towards a common goal, we’re racing against each other. A lot of us want the same things for our society and for our school, but we can feel so alone in our pursuit of it. There are unwritten rules, laws you could say, that guide our actions and drive us to feel so separate at school. Perhaps we could think about changing the m. u