Hard Learning

Raised in the remote fly-in community of Wapekeka, Miranda faces the same daunting challenge as many First Nations youth: there’s no high school on reserve. To continue the education most Canadians take for granted, the 14-year-old must leave the only home she has ever known and travel 500 km south to Thunder Bay. She’ll be alone, living with strangers in a boarding home. Her parents must stay in Wapekeka to work. Miranda’s high school in Thunder Bay focuses on Indigenous youth from remote communities; staff and teachers face many obstacles in their tireless efforts to support and educate the teens. Miranda faces a system that brings culture shock, isolation, loneliness and hardships that few teenagers can imagine. Back home, Miranda’s parents must deal with the separation; it’s painful to see their child leave home so young. They’re also coping with how to keep her connected to her heritage, language, traditional teachings and culture. All while trusting their daughter to strangers in an urban environment that can be harsh to Indigenous youth. With the help of dedicated educators, other brave students, the endless support of her family and her own passion for art, Miranda is slowly carving a path for herself.

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