One day ahead of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Day – which is to be observed Friday – schools throughout the Surrey school district spent time recognizing the day and learning about “our country’s history with First Nations and residential schools.”
“It’s really important for all Canadians to know about the history of Indigenous people on this land,” said Lyn Daniels, director of instruction with the district’s Aboriginal Learning department, in a news release issued earlier this week. “If we have greater understanding, we can have greater reconciliation.
“We’re acknowledging the truth – we’ve always been here, we’re still here, and we want to be able to get along and work together.”
Via social media, the school district has been highlighting what some of its schools have been up to this week, with regard to observing the day – which is now in its second year of being officially recognized – and learning.
At Elgin Park Secondary in South Surrey, more than a hundred students and their art teachers created what one teacher called “a beautiful multimedia piece to honour our First Nations and recognize Truth and Reconciliation Day.”
At Invergarry Learning Centre, a display – complete with stories, photos and orange-painted rocks emblazoned with ‘Every Child Matters’ – has been set up to help educate people on Canada’s history of residential schools. Other schools this week held assemblies with students, while other took part in walks and other events.
On Thursday, many students at White Rock and South Surrey elementary schools – along with teachers and other staff – could be seen outside, participating in various Truth and Reconciliation events.
This week, Surrey Schools also hosted a free, online educational program, for students from Grade 1-12, called Remembering the Children.
According to a news release, “Students will learn about Indigenous language, stories, heritage, identity, music and dance, and also have the opportunity to participate in live Q&As. Secondary students will also learn about the long-term impacts of residential schools, the discoveries of unmarked children’s graves and the experiences of Indigenous people who survived residential schools.”