Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District No. 42 students and staff honoured and acknowledged residential school survivors and their families with a series of Orange Shirt Day events across the district on September 30.
“Thank you to everyone in our schools for recognizing and embracing Orange Shirt Day as the active reconciliation that it is for our Indigenous Peoples in Canada,” said Kirsten Urdahl-Serr, acting principal of Aboriginal Education at SD42.
This morning, for instance, Edith McDermott Elementary hosted an Orange Shirt Day assembly that included principal Alan Millar reading and discussing The Orange Shirt Story.
Later, led by Aboriginal support worker Janna Dhalin, the entire school joined together to form a gigantic orange heart on the outdoor playground.
“We acknowledge Orange Shirt Day at Edith McDermott Elementary in the spirit of truth and reconciliation,” said Millar. “As Chief Justice Sinclair stated in his report, ‘it was education that got us here and it will take education to move us forward.’”
Added Millar, “We have taken this to heart and work to create awareness and understanding, for all our students as to why reconciliation is such an important part of our community both locally and nationally.”
Last week, leading up to Westview Secondary’s Orange Shirt Day event, Aboriginal support worker Melanie Unruh read The Orange Shirt Story for a class of Grade 10 students.
“Students shared their personal knowledge of what Orange Shirt Day is and some shared what they knew of Canadian residential schools. Many students had a lot of knowledge prior to hearing Phyllis’s story,” she said. “I hope that each student takes away a curiosity and a sense of responsibility to learn and understand what the legacy of residential schools means to Canada and all Canadians.”