National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Posted on 09/24/2021

Dear SPS Families,

As a school community, we recognize the importance of engaging in learning activities to raise awareness and understanding of the devastating impact of Canada’s residential school system. This is a vital part of our commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls to Action.

Since 2013, Orange Shirt Day has been observed on September 30th to honour the lives and experiences of Indigenous children who endured the residential school system in Canada. Last spring, the federal government enacted legislation recognizing September 30th as a federal statutory holiday commemorating National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This action was in response to Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) Calls to Action #80.

Please note, this is not a statutory holiday in Ontario and schools will be open, with learning activities taking place. However, some Indigenous families may decide to keep their children home on that day to engage in activities with family and community.

Indigenous self identification is a confidential process and should not be understood as a requirement for students to be away from school on this important day. There is no expectation that students who are away from school on this day participate in any school-related activities. Teachers have also been asked to not schedule tests or make assignments due on September 30th.

This meaningful day signals a year-long, ongoing commitment to learning that centres the truth of the harmful effects of colonialism, including the residential schools system that caused the loss of Indigenous lives, languages, and traditions for generations. 

 

How Stittsville PS is participating in the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Learning activities planned for September 30th will focus on developing student and staff understanding of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action and commemorating those whose lives were impacted by residential school experiences. Below are some of the ways this day will be recognized at SPS:

 

  • Opening exercises featuring a virtual opening address by Algonquin Knowledge Keeper Monique Manatch and a land acknowledgment by OCDSB Director of Education Camille Williams-Taylor, which you may join by clicking this link at 10:30 am on September 30th.

  • Age-appropriate learning activities to deepen understanding of truth and reconciliation, such as (please feel free to reach out directly to your child's teacher to get more information):

    • Project of Heart rock garden 

    • Various read alouds in English and French: "I Am Not A Number", "Barren Ground", "The Secret Path", "A Stranger at Home", "Phyllis' Orange Shirt"

    • Using resources from the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, including Spirit BearShannen's Dream and Jordan's Principle

    • Reading and learning about the historical and ongoing impact of residential schools

    • Sharing about what it means to feel safe, welcomed, and included in school

    • Attending the National Truth and Reconciliation week events from Sept 27-30

    • Learning about the role of Indigenous People as Water and Land Protectors, and Stewards of the Earth

    • A school-wide art display to support Every Child Matters

  • A virtual closing offered by Ms. Manatch, which you may join by clicking this link at 2:00 pm on September 30th.

 

We encourage you to review the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and Spirit Bear's Guide to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action (Youth friendly language outlines the 94 calls to action). 

 

Visit the OCDSB National Truth and Reconciliation Day webpage to learn more about:

  • How the OCDSB is marking this day

  • Actions parents and students can take

  • Community and mental health resources for Indigenous students and families

 

 

Questions may be directed to me at erin.paynter@ocdsb.ca, or you may also reach out directly to your child's teacher.

 

Take good care,

Erin Paynter

Principal

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