Sarah Jerome — preserving history

A photo of Sarah Jerome. (Supplied by Jennifer Costa.)
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The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada has a new member.

Sarah Jerome, an elder with the Gwich’in Nation, who worked as an Indigenous knowledge educator to youth in the Inuvik region for decades, has been appointed as the NWT’s representative.

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Jerome says as an elder, she must pass on the traditional knowledge entrusted to her by her own elders.

“So having come from that generation, and having healed and shared my voice, by taking back my power, I’ve decided that because they were our leaders in the past to educate us, they surrounded us, and they entrusted us with the traditional knowledge. I feel that as an elder today, I need to pass that on to the young people.”

Sarah Jerome

The Historic Sites and Monuments Board advises the federal government on the national significance of persons, places, and events that have marked history in Canada.

Jerome says because of the history of how Canada has treated Indigenous people, she is in a unique position.

“Because of our history, and the chapters of the residential schools that we’ve gone to, a lot of our young people or young parents today have lost their voices, and are not able to express how they feel.”

Sarah Jerome

Jerome hopes she will be able to educate all Canadians about Indigenous history through the position.

“A lot of Canadians today, mainstream Canadian students do not understand, quite what we went through in residential schools and a lot of people are saying that we should get on with our lives now. I guess my experience will contribute to how I educate in a positive way so that we are not only healing for the Aboriginal community, but for all Canadians to walk forward and to heal together.”

Sarah Jerome
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