Truth and Reconciliation Day
This year, Canada commemorated the first-ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. On campus and off, we invited our community to take time to reflect on the history and legacy of residential schools. Our students have been given the opportunity to do so in their classrooms and in assembly at both schools this week. We would like to extend our gratitude to the members of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) First Nation who took part in our Senior School assembly – Chief Wayne Sparrow; Karen Grant, Member of the St. George’s School Society Board; and Felix Grant ‘22. Our relationship with the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) is a highly cherished one, and we are grateful for the opportunity to teach and to learn on these lands.
Below are a few reflections our teachers, and Grade 5 and 7 students asked to share regarding Truth and Reconciliation, and what it means to them.
What it means to us as Educators
As teachers at an all-boys school, we think it is essential that we educate our students on the importance of Truth and Reconciliation. This is a day of reflection, hope, and responsibility; it allows us time to pause, reflect on the past, hope for a brighter future while considering our responsibility on the way we move forward and reconcile. Throughout the week our students have been engaged in a variety of age-appropriate discussions and activities to help them understand this very complex aspect of our past. These have been centered around residential schools, remembering those that didn't make it along with honoring people who have lived through the trauma and have had their identity stripped from them. Our hope is for the students to take what they have learned and share their knowledge with others while continuing to ask questions and strengthen their understanding of what it means to be an ally. As well as acknowledging Canada’s past and making respectful connections to the land our school resides on. Our goal is to continue to have these conversations throughout the school year and within the homes of our school community.
–Montanna Howe and Pat Pachchigar
What this day means to us as Students
I have learned that lots of the events in our past were very bad and lead to consequences. The whole time today I wanted it to stop and it finally did. The hope I have for Canada is that we are a safe and peaceful place for everyone no matter what your culture is. My favourite activity has been reading the story about Phyllis and I particularly liked the part when they said that Phyliss didn't have to go back to the residential school.
It makes me feel like making friendships and alleys with different people. It makes me feel that I want to be a team player and feel connected. I would want others to understand our past and that it was an awful experience for so many people, that many children did not come home from residential schools. My hope is that we all can respect each other and live together in peace and harmony.
– Andrew and Caleb, Grade 5
On Truth and Reconciliation Day, all of us should make it a priority to think about what happened to the Indigenous peoples, and how they have had to be RESILIENT in response to struggles.
When we apply our core value of EMPATHY, we think about what Indigenous Peoples have had to go through, and we get one step closer to a more meaningful understanding of how they might feel after having had more than just an orange shirt taken away from them.
We can also show the core value of RESPONSIBILITY, by listening to Indigenous voices, educating each other, and always being aware of our actions moving forward. We have to make the future Canada a much better place for Indigenous peoples.
Applying HUMILITY is a vital part of the National Day for Truth & Reconciliation because it is about committing to the fact that we can all do better. We must understand and admit our community’s past mistakes and wrongdoings to the Indigenous People.
We must also use RESILIENCE to learn from those mistakes to use what we learn to take action for the future. We can be examples to those around us to care for others, so that together we can create a better and fairer future for all.
It is also vital to RESPECT the land, history, rights, and cultures of indigenous people. We can do this by acknowledging the peoples who lived where you lived before you, as well as celebrating the richness their culture brings to our country as a whole.
There is also a prominent integrity element, because it means doing the right thing now and always. Reconciliation most definitely does not end today, tomorrow, or this week. The fight for truth regarding the cultures and identities of the Indigenous peoples is ongoing, and remains hugely relevant. Residential schools are something that started long ago, but only ended recently. The mistreatment of Indigenous peoples marks a dark period of Canadian history, which we must try to heal through reconciliation.
We hope you have a better understanding of how Truth and Reconciliation connect to the core values. We hope that not just tomorrow, but always, all of us can learn to dedicate thought and time towards reconciliation, as well as the truth.
– Preston Ben and Eric, Grade 7