School boards prepare series of events and educational materials for National Truth and Reconciliation Day

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In addition to providing educational materials, both school boards are asking staff and students to wear orange in solidarity with Indigenous peoples

Responding to the calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report is at the heart of the activities and events taking place in schools in Guelph and Wellington County on the first National Truth and Reconciliation Day.

The Government of Canada’s website indicates that National Truth and Reconciliation Day is a new federal holiday honoring lost children and residential school survivors, their families and communities. As part of the reconciliation process, public events will be held throughout the day to recognize the heartbreaking history of residential schools and observe its continuing impacts on the Indigenous community. The holiday also coincides with Orange Shirt Day.

Ali Wilson, communications officer for the Wellington Catholic District School Board, explains in an email that all elementary schools, high schools and their boards will participate, but each will recognize the day differently.

“A number of resources have been provided to help educators and principals make this day of meaningful learning about truth and reconciliation, our responsibilities and our way forward with Indigenous peoples,” said Wilson in the email, “All schools have been encouraged to ensure that there are culturally relevant and appropriate educational experiences for all students at an age appropriate level.

From Grades 3 to 12, WCDSB provided classrooms with educational materials that included stories and perspectives from Indigenous youth and adults. Other resources from the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Association of Ontario, including guest speakers and online resources, were also provided.

Across WCDSB, all grade five classes will also participate in a presentation on Inuit way of life and culture from guest speaker Aapli Galliford, a local Inuit aide who shares his passion for his culture, language and experiences as a than a local Inuit youth. The first presentation started on Wednesday. Wilson explains that this event is part of WCDSB’s commitment to Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action 62 and 63.

“Partnering with knowledge keepers and local Indigenous communities will support students and create classroom environments that integrate Indigenous cultures, language, worldviews and knowledge. ”

Within the Upper Grand District School Board, staff have created many resources to support staff and student learning, and schools and student groups are planning events focused on education, justice. social and action.

“Schools and school boards in the Upper Grand District School Board will mark National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day with events and initiatives that promote learning about the truths of the residential school system and encourage meaningful action as we work towards reconciliation. Said Peter Sovran, Director of Education at UGDSB.

Beyond National Truth and Reconciliation Day, the two school boards seek to work with Indigenous community partners and organizations to create culturally relevant and rich programming. The WCDSB and UGDSB also have a First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Council, which assists these councils in identifying community needs and provides advice and guidance on First Nations education initiatives. , Métis and Inuit.

It comes as the Ontario government recently announced $ 23.96 million in Indigenous education funding to support First Nations, Métis and Inuit students as part of a broader engagement of the government towards reconciliation. This includes mandatory Indigenous-focused learning in Grades 1 to 3, carried out in consultation with Indigenous partners, Elders and knowledge keepers.

The funding will also provide sustainable funding to strengthen existing partnerships with Ontario Chiefs and First Nations Provincial Territorial Organizations (PTOs) and promote higher graduation rates and transitions to employment and career opportunities. employment for First Nations students.


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