On September 30, the Vancouver School District is observing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This past month, several schools have held ceremonies and participated in activities to honour residential school survivors.
· The “Every Child Matters” flag was raised to acknowledge National Day for Truth and Reconciliation at the District Education Centre. With orange shirts on in support, staff gathered with members of VSB’s Indigenous Education Department to raise the flag with a song and drumming led by District Vice Principal, Davita Marsden. Staff then stood by the Reconciliation poles for a few minutes of silence to honour and remember residential school survivors and those who did not make it home.
· Also at the Education Centre, a display entitled Walking Together: Reconcili-Action was created to honour survivors with artwork including paper moccasins, orange t-shirt cut outs with messages from students to survivors, a 10-foot tall dreamcatcher made by students of Douglas Elementary and more student-made art.
· Together with students from Carnarvon Elementary, Mackenzie Elementary, Lord Roberts Elementary and Lord Byng Secondary, VSB Indigenous Education Worker Chad Carpenter put together 60 bentwood boxes as gifts for residential school survivors.
· Tillicum Annex also held an unveiling of an outdoor mural created by Eastern Fraser Valley-based Coast Salish artist Carrielynn Victor.
· One teacher from Grenfell Elementary School created a 3D model of a residential school with his class, as an act of reconciliation and to remember the true history of residential schools.
· The Indigenous-focus XPey’ Elementary facilitated a Truth and Reconciliation Walk with Indigenous Elders on September 29.
Individual schools have chosen to honour this day in different ways, with educators taking time to learn about the lasting effects of the mistreatment of Indigenous people in Canada, alongside their students. Guided by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, students have been doing their part to unlearn, relearn and retell the history of Canada.