Faculty of Education

Faculty of Education
Faculty of Education

David Bouchard Gift of Reading Tour

By Paul Carl

Wow, what an event!

On April 13th, over 60 people attended the Aboriginal Teacher Education Program’s Speaker Series event with David Bouchard. David Bouchard is a Métis author, storyteller and self-taught flautist. At the age of 46 he says he “became Métis” and discovered his Métis heritage, led by a vison his grandmother gave him in his dream time. After leaving his job as a high school principal, David began to use the gift of storytelling that the creator gifted him. This gift of storytelling left everyone in awe; the audience was moved by the way he told his stories from his heart.

The event was opened in a traditional way with the Ohenten Kariwatekwen, or Thanksgiving Address, which was recited beautifully by Cherie Jacobs, a Kanien'kehá:ka ATEP teacher candidate from the Kahnawake Territory. Following that, all of the ATEP teacher candidates welcomed David with an honour song, and also honoured local elder Barbara Hooper by singing ‘Wildflower,’ which is a song that was gifted to her.

David expressed the importance of teachers giving children three gifts to make them successful in learning to read. First, children need to be given time to start reading when they are ready.  Secondly, they need teachers and caregivers to be heroes for them by reading to them and demonstrating a love of reading.  Third, they need good resources to read. For First Nation, Metis and Inuit students it is so important to have resources to read in their Indigenous languages, as well as resources where they see themselves and their Nations represented. These books also need to be authentic to the Nations they represent.

His other message was about the importance of telling the truth to young people about what has happened in the past and for teachers to listen to their students.  New teachers must be critical of the curriculum and teach the truth.

Finally, if there is anything the attendees learned I am sure it was to never tell a child to stop talking!  Instead, encourage them to find the right way to celebrate their gift of storytelling.

The staff and students of ATEP thanks David Bouchard for visiting the Faculty of Education, and we look forward to the time he can come back to visit the shared territory of the Anishinaabe and Haudenosonee peoples.

David Bouchard