Comox Valley students will be doing events and activities this week to learn about the history of residential schools and honour survivors.
School District 71 (SD71) says they passed a unanimous motion last December to make the last week of September Truth and Reconciliation Week. This year is the inaugural kick-off to an annual week.
SD71 board chair Tonia Frawley says the various events will teach students about the history and let them learn from local First Nations.
“All schools in SD 71 are hosting events to commemorate Truth and Reconciliation Week to revisit the truth of our history, honour residential school survivors, and learn from Indigenous knowledge keepers,” said Frawley.
“It’s crucial that all students in SD 71 learn about the history of residential schools and understand their intergenerational impact – this recognition and commemoration are essential in working toward meaningful reconciliation.”
Some of the activities include creating an orange feather mobile that will be hung at the entrance of École Puntledge, organizing donations to the Orange Shirt Society, and various reconciliation classes ranging from knowledge and understanding to reflection and care (G.P. Vanier Secondary).
Communications manager Craig Sorochan said in late August the week has been something the district has been looking forward to since the end of last school year.
“Some of our teachers have been working with Indigenous folks in the area and a new Indigenous grad credit course,” said Sorochan.
In addition to the events, Queneesh Elementary and SD 71’s Indigenous Education program are sending two local residential school survivors to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation events in Niagara Falls.
The district says the week will be followed by the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Red Dress Campaign, and the walk for Wenjack Secret Path week in October.