September 30th marks the end of the first month of school, which is always a time of adjustment for children, teachers, and parents. We hope everyone is beginning to settle in to a comfortable and confident rhythm as we begin to gain traction on what promises to be an enjoyable year together.
However, as we complete the ninth month of 2022, we also reflect on the importance of September 30th for our country as a whole. The selection of September 30th to commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is an excellent time during which to call to mind with our children the truths of a very sad time in our country’s history – a history that has been ignored in Canadian schools for generations.
The day provides an opportunity to bring awareness to the painful legacy and impact of the residential school system and, as a School ourselves, we have a duty to advance our personal reconciliation efforts to build a better future for everyone in our communities, First Nations and beyond.
The federal government established the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in 2021 in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action #80. The Calls to Action provide important direction for all levels of government, institutions, and all Canadians to help redress the legacy of residential schools across the country and to advance reconciliation.
Reconciliation refers to the “process of making two people or groups of people friendly again after they have argued seriously or fought and kept apart from each other, or a situation in which this happens”. In another sense, reconciliation is also about being truly sorry for misdeeds committed against another human being and seeking forgiveness and healing – this process involves voluntary contrition and collective acknowledgment for having done wrong.
As we all come to a deeper understanding of and respect for the history of our lands and its peoples, we have a responsibility in schools to ensure that our children not only learn about the truths of our shared generational experiences as Canadians, but also about their future civic roles in making sure the lessons of history are truly understood.
On September 30th in Canadian schools, students and teachers learn about and reflect on the ongoing legacy of Indian Residential Schools in our country. It is a commemorative day inspired by the story of Indian Residential School Survivor Phyllis Webstad whose memory we honour along with the memories of many other children who did not survive.
Recognizing this day is only one step in a long journey of understanding and meaningful reconciliation.
In a small way, our school is committed to playing its part by standing with one another for truth and reconciliation.
Ric Anderson, Head of School