Tour for Humanity on the Road: Dryden, ON

May 9, 2019

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Greetings from Northern Ontario!

Tour for Humanity is in the middle of it's fourth annual Northern trip. After spending last week in Thunder Bay, the bus moved north-west to the small city of Dryden, Ontario. We spent three days at Dryden High School, also welcoming elementary age students from more rural communities in the surrounding areas; these Grade 5 to 8 groups took part in the Canadian Experience workshop. Alongside the students, the bus also welcomed a number of parents, the media, even the school's police constable.Needless to say, it was a full house for our last day in Ontario! While Toronto will always been home for T4H, there is certainly something to be said about the intense excitement that the bus brings to smaller towns across Ontario!

Day one began with a discussion on the problem of online hate and misinformation, and the role it has played in Canada and internationally in intensifying mistrust and polarization in many instances. For a generation who were born into the digital era, it is necessary for students to look beyond the simple benefits and conveniences of modern technology and really critically analyze the effect digital media has on personal freedoms. Whether it is the role of Facebook in the ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, or the shutdown of all social media platforms following the attacks in Sri Lanka, the world we live in today is racing to catch up to the divide technology has created.

A common theme throughout the past 3 days has also been recent history in Canada. Dryden has a significant minority population of individuals who identify as Indigenous, either as Metis or First Nations persons. This reality has brought a greater significance to the conversations in our workshops that promote investigation into the mistreatment and crimes of those Aboriginal communities. Discussions about the enslavement of Indigenous peoples upon initial Western colonization,residential schools, and so-called "Indian Hospitals" take on a much deeper meaning in classes where many students closely identify with this history.

At the end of day 3, T4H packed up and headed west to Winnipeg, a brand new stop for us. Educator Emily will be finishing up the week at two Winnipeg-area schools