Students at Lake Trail Middle School are learning the importance of reconciliation through the ‘ReconciliAction’ project.

Comox Valley schools says the term ‘ReconciliAction’ is used to describe tangible activities to reconcile with the past and build respect among one another.

One of those includes the Youth Leading Reconciliation (YLR) conference, which is an annual event that SD71 has been taking part in for the past three years.

The size and magnitude of YLR in the district has varied from year to year and this year, because of COVID-19, Jeannine Lindsay, a former Indigenous Support Work (ISW), and Lelaina Jules, Indigenous Education Curriculum Support Teacher, created and delivered a scaled back COVID-19 safe approach to students.

The half-day session Wednesday explored  the importance of reconciliACTION and included cultural events, art and literature projects, and lessons embedded in the curriculum such as Humanities or Social Studies.

Lindsay led the 20 students through a discussion on reconciliation tying in Canada’s discriminatory policies that students had learned in their Humanities studies.

“We are really only at the beginning stages of reconciliation. What is reconciliation? What could it look like and how can students fit into that story,” expressed Lindsay.

 “Part of that is being an ally, not only to Indigenous people but to people in general.”

SD71 says YLR aims to inspire youth to take action, which can be as simple as being allies through a show of respect, by honouring the past and to be willing to let others share their story. In other words, action through empathy.

Grade 9 student Kadence Klassen says YLR helps her identity what needs to be done to fix our past towards indigious peoples. 

“These weren’t good things. We need to do something about it,” expressed Klassen.

“To me when I hear ‘ally’ I think of a companion, someone who is close and someone who trusts you. At my home, we sit around the dinner table and have conversations about these things, what we learned and what we can do to change.”

Lake Trail students were the only students in the district to experience YLR this year.

To learn more about ReconciliAction’ activities happening in the Comox Valley, visit The Comox Valley School District’s website.