Truth & Reconciliation Day is an opportunity for the VCS community to honour the 150,000+ students who attended Indian Residential Schools in this country. There are an estimated 80,000 survivors of these schools still alive in Canada today, and we now recognize as a country that the hurt and damage done to these students is intergenerational and reaches across entire communities and across the country. We are also just now starting to learn what Indigenous people have been trying to tell us for a long time: children died at these schools from malnutrition, from disease, and from abuse. Sometimes they died when they tried to run away from these schools. The colour orange is used on this day because of Phylis Webstad’s experience with having her new orange shirt taken from her on her first day at an Indian Residential School.
As Christians, we are called to “weep with those who weep” and “mourn with those who mourn.” This is a time for all Christians to come alongside Indigenous communities and lament and grieve with them for the Church’s role in this failed attempt at forced assimilation. We also want to celebrate and appreciate Indigenous communities and people on this day, and together find ways to respond with Christ-like hope.
As part of our mission to “equip students for a life of discipleship by providing excellent education in a Christ-Centred community,” we will be commemorating Truth & Reconciliation Day at both the elementary and the secondary campuses. To help prepare our staff for this day, time was spent during the teacher work week doing professional development on this topic.
Learning activities at Secondary and Elementary campuses;
Secondary Campus – At the secondary campus, regular classes will look different for the day in favour of specialized learning activities that students will experience within their CREW groups. An orange shirt will also be gifted to each student in grades 7-12 that they are asked to wear on this day. If a family would like to make a small donation to the school to offset the cost of these orange shirts, please let the office know. Students will also be asked to bring a small blanket for every 2-3 students to be used during one of the learning activities.
Elementary Campus – At the elementary campus, teachers are collaborating to create learning opportunities that will help students better understand our Indigenous neighbours and show the love that God calls us to show. The day will look much different than a normal day as students learn from guests, go on field trips, and express their understanding in various ways. Keep an eye out for communication from your child’s teacher regarding these special events. Elementary students will be asked to wear orange.
We are looking forward to a good day together.