Last week I had the opportunity to learn about a project towards reconciliation that is taking place in the University Centre at uOttawa. As part of our PED 3110 (Teaching in Roman Catholic Separate Schools) class , we took a mini-fieldtrip to visit Marcel Labelle – an Algonquin and Métis artist and canoe-builder. His teachings and stories were particularly moving as he shared so much of his own personal history. It set the context for understanding where he was coming from and what motivated his journey towards reconciliation through canoe building.
As luck would have it, our morning workshop with Marcel was also being documented by CBC.
When Marcel Labelle decided to chart a new career course building birch bark canoes 13 years ago, it was a journey that would help him reconnect with his Indigenous heritage while taking his craft to universities across Ontario, which has brought him to the University of Ottawa this winter to lead a hands-on canoe-building project (Jessie Park, CBC News).