The Government of Canada recently designated September 30th a statutory holiday named the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in recognition of the lasting harm residential schools have had on Indigenous communities. We ask students, staff, and families to use this opportunity to reflect on the profound injustice of residential schools and ensure that the intergenerational trauma suffered by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit families is not forgotten.
As part of Truth and Reconciliation Week (September 27 to October 1), the Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District will lower flags to half-mast at all facilities and students and staff are asked to wear orange. We also want to acknowledge the work of our Aboriginal Education Department, which has been instrumental in supporting teachers with resources and activities for in-class learning and discussion. We encourage families to explore these resources available on the Aboriginal Education Department website, some of which have likely already been seen by your child depending on their age.
This year has been particularly difficult for Indigenous people across Canada. In May, Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc First Nation announced they had located the remains of 215 Indigenous children buried in unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C. Since then, numerous other suspected graves have been located across the country with the use of ground-penetrating radar.
As the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation approaches, our district is committed to creating safe spaces for healing for Indigenous students and staff. We also want to ensure all students of ancestry are provided with the support and care they need as they undertake their educational journey. Through education, awareness, and understanding, our district can learn from the rich cultural history of the First Peoples of Canada and make certain that the human rights abuses associated with forced assimilation are not forgotten.
Korleen Carreras, Chairperson, Board of Education
Harry Dhillon, Superintendent of Schools