Day 182 (of 187) reconciliation not just a good thing, but a “must”
Wednesday was a good day. Our schools remedy teacher has been working with a grade 6/7 class on a difficult topic: residential schools. A topic that makes brings forth a range of emotions…and sometimes discomfort to talk about. After all…we are Canada….a multicultural mosaic…not “the states” where they literally declared it “the Indian wars“…but we were and are “different”…aren’t/weren’t we? The Canadian Truth and Reconciliation report says … not so much…
But we can’t ignore it (and I will continue to share that I grew up in a community impacted by residential schools but never knew what they were about until I was working on my education degree – and one of my majors was Canadian history….) anymore. Literally. BC Teacher Standards have just been edited:
We can’t wait for someone else to talk about the wrongs in our nations history. We are the educators charged to do better. There will not be a provincial text, because we have to start local. Tla’amin where I am…T’it’q’et where I grew up. We can’t art-ify our studies. If we are in Sepwepmec territory, we should not be doing totem poles until after we have started local and then discussed how to expand. And yes, politics will get involved and be confusing at times – one district I was in had some beautiful resources provided by our local nation – until there was a change in the government and the new elders did not want it used, no matter how much it cost (and how much work had been done); even as part of the British Columbia Principals Vice Principals Association I heard from an elder who was not happy with some artwork that was created for us for thank-you gifts to conference presenters was not representative of where the conference was located and it helped me better understand the challenges provincial organizations will have as we try to connect and reflect everyone and risk not representing everyone appropriately.
But as the truth and reconciliation report teaches us, we have to be mindful in doing better…even if we stumble and make mistakes along the way.
After the performance our kids put on (original writings and performances), I just feel positive that the learning and reflecting our students are doing will help future generations do better than those of us who came before.
One that stuck with me was a vignette that had the teacher referring to the students as numbers and the final line “I thought my name was Will…” but seeing the elders who were able to attend our afternoon performance talking with our students and teacher who coordinated this day….well…it was a powerful day.
It’s also why I opted to show my support with an orange shirt – because it is not just the end of September that we should be thinking about residential school survivors (and one school I was at mindfully had orange shirts that we wore on Wednesday before it was a movement!). Love the legacy that has been started at our school this year!