Dear school community,
We are heartbroken to learn of the tragedy in Kamloops, British Columbia. The discovery of 215 children found buried on the grounds of the former Kamloops residential school in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc territory is a reminder of the lasting legacy of residential schools.
The South Shore Regional Centre for Education will honour the lives of these 215 children, along with all others who have lost their lives in Canada’s residential schools. Our flags will be lowered to half mast for nine days, 215 hours. We are also encouraging students and staff to wear orange when students return to in-person classes on Wednesday, June 2, 2021.
We acknowledge that there were many children that went to residential schools and never returned home. The legacy of Canada’s residential school system continues to have a negative impact on all of us, including SSRCE students, staff, families, and school communities. If you are having a difficult time as you learn more about this tragedy, there are supports available and I invite you to reach out:
- The National Indian Residential School Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419
- The Indian Residential Schools Survivor Society: 1-800-721-0066
- The Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Crisis and Referral Centre: 1-855-379-2099
- Additional School Mental Health Supports
In times of grief and sadness, we see opportunities to create teachable moments, and we are encouraging conversations about residential schools in our classrooms. SSRCE will continue to focus on our role in reconciliation through Treaty Education. Treaty Education allows for each grade level to learn about the Mi’kmaq, treaties, relationships, and reconciliation. These teachings are woven in to the curriculum of every grade level throughout the school year.
We encourage you to join us, and act towards honouring the truth. What can you do?
- Wear orange on Wednesday, June 2, as a symbol of awareness. Learn more about residential schools and the Orange Shirt Day Initiative
- Read and understand your role in the 94 Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Report
- Learn more about the Mi’kmaq and the rich stories of who they are & their lived experience in this resource: Teaching about the Mi’kmaq
- Learn about the Treaties of Peace and Friendship, including our treaty rights and responsibilities.
- For our school-based staff: Intentionally teach Mi’kmaq history, culture and ways of knowing in your classrooms and programs.
We are all Treaty People. #EveryChildMatters
SSRCE Regional Executive Director of Education