Following federal legislation to mark September 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, and the provincial government announcement to make it a day of commemoration, all schools and work sites in the Vancouver School District will be closed tomorrow.
This is a day to reflect on the lasting impact of the residential school’s system in Canada and the deaths of countless Indigenous children. The District continues to stand with First Nations communities and Indigenous families. It is also important to continue to support Indigenous students, families, and staff during this time of grieving.
Flags at all schools are at half-mast this week in the lead up to tomorrow, with a special Every Child Matters orange flag at the District’s education centre. Staff and students are also wearing orange to mark Orange Shirt Day. School staff across the District have also been working with students through school activities and classroom discussions to commemorate the day.
At Xpey’ Elementary, for example, classes took turns walking around the gym in silence – a time to reflect and in remembrance – a walk for Reconciliation. “We wanted to create a space for the students to recognize the significance of the new National Day for Truth and Reconciliation,” says David Delorme, vice-principal for Indigenous Education, who is based at Xpey’ Elementary four days a week. “In age-appropriate ways we have also been sharing their stories while honouring and paying tribute to all effected by the residential school system in Canada,” adds Delorme.
Beyond a one-day commemoration, the District recognizes the importance to continue the Reconciliation work necessary for the truth to be known and shared through education. Together as a community, education staff will continue to move forward with a spirit of compassion, recognizing the imperative to hear the truth, listen to Indigenous people, learn the true collective history, and take real actions every day to show our commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action.
Learn more about Indigenous education at the District.