Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows students recognized Truth and Reconciliation Week by wearing orange, creating art, and taking part in class discussions focused on understanding the intergenerational trauma suffered by people with Indigenous ancestry.
Edith McDermott Elementary principal Alan Millar, who oversees the school with the largest number of Katzie First Nation students in the district, said many children have family who attended residential schools.
“This is a day that has become very important to us,” he said. “We go out of our way to ensure that we acknowledge it as strongly as possible.”
Students decorated the halls with art and messages saying what truth and reconciliation means to them. All of the children and teachers gathered on the field in the shape of a giant heart to spread awareness and show their support.
“It means everything to me because I felt bad for the kids that went to residential schools,” said Katherine, a Grade 5 student at Edith McDermott.
“What reconciliation means to me is acknowledging the truth of what Indigenous people had to go through in the residential schools and simply wearing an orange shirt to spread awareness,” added Ella, a Grade 7 student.
Students across the district learned about truth and reconciliation, with virtual and live events.
At Kanaka Creek Elementary, students made a giant circle around their school to honour the people who lost their lives in the residential school system.
“The entire school went outside and create a circle of truth,” said principal Chad Raible. “We enveloped the school and a parent used a drone to get footage of the event.”
Students at Maple Ridge Elementary also created a friendship circle on their school field. Vice-principal Chelsea Lendvoy said “it was a very powerful experience for our staff and students. They also created art work, which was hung around the school.