Bluewater District School Board

Bluewater's National Day for Truth and Reconciliation 2022 page

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation 2022

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation 2022
Posted on 09/29/2022
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, September 30 graphic displaying orange T-shirts and BWDSB logoBluewater District School Board joins Canadians to honour the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30, 2022.  National flags are once again being lowered on this day at our schools and worksites to symbolize our board’s ongoing efforts towards truth and reconciliation.  September 30 is yet another opportunity for us to expand the year-round learning and awareness that students and staff are engaging in regarding the legacy of residential schools, and the history, culture, and contributions of Indigenous Peoples of Canada.

Since this date has traditionally been dedicated to Orange Shirt Day, we are encouraging students, staff, and those in our school communities to wear orange on that day.

Here is a snapshot of some of the many events and activities occurring throughout the district focused on truth and reconciliation:
  • "Culturally Responsible Leadership" was this year's Bluewater District School Board August symposium theme as school and system administrators came together in Port Elgin to focus on acknowledging the past, understanding the present, and leading the future.  Staff were joined by Saugeen First Nation elders, teachers, students, and a representative of the Indigenous Education Office of the Ontario Ministry of Education for a day of teaching and learning on reconciliation and supporting Indigenous students.  In addition to elder and student drumming, a sacred fire, and smudging, a local guest speaker addressed the ongoing trauma existing in today's First Nation communities, a Sixties Scoop survivor shared their personal story and journey, and a student panel provided a youth perspective.

  • G.C. Huston Public School – Students and staff will join Saugeen First Nation dignitaries, elders, residential school survivors, media, and officials from the Town of Saugeen Shores and Bluewater District School Board on September 30 for a day of ceremonies, reflection, renewal, and unity.  This will include walking the new Truth and Reconciliation crosswalk in front of the school, a joint effort between the board and Saugeen Shores Town Council.  The crosswalk recognizes the close relationship between Saugeen First Nation and G.C. Huston Public School, and the coming together of the two communities.  The day begins with a sacred fire and gathering in front of the school, followed by a formal ceremony featuring drumming, the honouring of residential school survivors, and learning opportunities for students on the sacred fire and traditional medicines.  The school community will also attend a renewal ceremony on the Zgaa-biig-ni-gan (“We are connected”) Bridge as Saugeen Shores and Saugeen First Nation reaffirm their vow symbolizing the connecting of both communities.  View the media release.

  • Alexandra Community School will have a celebration with a focus on strengthening the relationship with all cultures within the school using the Grandfather Teachings and other character traits of acceptance, diversity, and inclusivity, and ensuring everyone feels a sense of belonging.  Students and staff are encouraged to wear an orange shirt on September 30 and every 30th of the month to remember the importance of truth-telling, healing, and inclusion.  Primary students will be given a wooden cookie/puck for engraving a heart representing love and healing, while junior/intermediate classes can take rocks from buckets in the principal’s office and share packs of paint markers to create messages on the flat stones about healing/truth-telling or how students can individually help others feel accepted and important.  There will also be guest speakers, drumming, and a chance for students to place their wooden pucks or stones around the Grandfather Trees in the Thoughtful Space outside the school.  Two specially made wooden T-shirts painted orange displaying the “Every Child Matters” slogan will be presented at the ceremony, and then affixed to the back and front of the school.  A selection of resources is available in the school library to support growing students’ understanding of these important concepts.  A special message will be included in the daily announcements during the week.

  • East Ridge Community School is holding a "Walk For Wenjack".  As a legacy school, the school community is working towards reconciliation and reconciliACTION.  Students will walk around the school track and bring a donation to support the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund.  A desired target number of kilometres has been set representing the number of kilometres Chanie Wenjack tried to walk between the residential school he attended and his home. 
  • Peninsula Shores District School students in Grades 6 to 12 are participating in the “Walk for Healing and Recognition” with friends and neighbours of Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation on September 30.  The walk will follow a 1.5-kilometre route to the “Every Child Matters” orange sign, where the Nawash community will join to continue walking together to the Pow Wow grounds at Cape Croker.  Participants will join hands in a circle to symbolize their commitment to a new trust, and standing with neighbours as they tell their stories and receive recognition for the hurts suffered.
About the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Designated as an annual federal statutory holiday in 2021, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation honours residential school victims, survivors, families, and impacted communities.  It is one small step in confronting the history and immeasurable damage that persists as a result of the residential school system, and Canada’s long journey in the reconciliation process.  The occasion was established in response to Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action 80, which speaks to the need for the federal government to work with Indigenous people to create a statutory day for this purpose.

For more information: https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/national-day-truth-reconciliation.html

About Orange Shirt Day
Founded by former residential school student Phyllis (Jack) Webstad, Orange Shirt Day takes place annually on September 30.  It is named after an incident that occurred when Phyllis was six years old, whereby her new orange shirt was confiscated on the first day of residential school.  The memory is symbolic of the treatment received by residential school students, and the attempts to diminish their culture, traditions, and worth.  Canadians are encouraged to wear orange on this day to honour survivors and victims, and to raise awareness of the legacy of the residential school system.

For more information: www.orangeshirtday.org

Other Resources
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action
National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (Truth and Reconciliation Week 2022 program for educators)
Truth and Reconciliation Week 2022

Bluewater District School Board is located on the traditional land of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, which is represented by the communities of Saugeen First Nation and Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.
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