Students and staff in SD61 will be marking the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation this week, and are encouraging everyone to wear orange.
Schools and district offices will be closed on Friday, Sept. 30, for the federal statutory holiday, which is also known as Orange Shirt Day. Truth and Reconciliation Week will start on Monday (Sept. 26) and will revolve around an online event for students in Grades 1 through 12, according to a release.
The event, whose theme this year is “Remembering the Children,” will provide pre-recorded videos, live Q&A sessions and activities for students and educators. It is hosted by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.
“The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation provides opportunities for our students, educators and staff to deepen their understanding and demonstrate their ongoing commitment to learning about the legacy of residential schools,” said board chair Ryan Painter. “As a board and a district, we must continually support Indigenous worldviews and perspectives to demonstrate our commitment to the TRC Calls to Action for Education. We understand the importance of delivering culturally relevant education and September 30 creates the space for us to reflect and take into consideration the experiences and well-being of rights holders and Indigenous Peoples.”
The province’s school curriculum is responsive to the Calls to Action on Education, outlined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Report, according to the district. It includes the history of the residential school system to educate students and builds intercultural understanding among students.
“Our pursuit towards reconciliation will not be performative; it must be based in action. There is important work ahead to ensure that our efforts go beyond a day or a week—and that education for reconciliation continues throughout the entire school year,” said Superintendent Deb Whitten. “We must continue to weave Indigenous ways of knowing into our schools to create a better sense of belonging for our Indigenous students, and for all learners to benefit from these perspectives.”
For more information on learning opportunities, resources for children and families and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Final Report: Calls to Action, visit ied.sd61.bc.ca.
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