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UCDSB Staff and Students Honour National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
UCDSB Staff and Students Honour National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
Posted on 09/30/2022

September 30, 2022On the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and eighth annual Orange Shirt Day, the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB) recognizes it has a role to play in truth and reconciliation. 

Indigenous education, teachings, and an unwavering commitment to truth and reconciliation are embedded into the everyday curriculum and culture within UCDSB classrooms and worksites. Each school year, we strive to find new ways to provide students with opportunities to learn about Indigenous cultureincluding after-school for-credit courses, summer learning opportunities, overnight excursions and Mohawk language courses.   

For National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day, schools were encouraged to engage in relevant programming and learning activities that are appropriate and meaningful to the students at the school and the community around them.  

Students were encouraged to wear orange shirts and schools have been creating displays and artwork, holding ceremonies, presentations, and welcoming guest speakers this week. The Indigenous Education and Learning Commons departments also launched their most recent collaboration -- Sq'ad'adang: UCDSB Indigenous Poster Project for Teaching & Learning. This is an online resource centre for events and related resources for students, staff and community members to learn and celebrate the work that students are engaged in. Awareness posters will also be distributed to all schools at the end of November and will include a QR code directing people to this readily accessible and authentic Indigenous resource.  

Today, Waneek Horn-Miller, the first Indigenous woman to participate in the Olympic Games, hosted a webinar that all UCDSB students and staff were able to tune in to, with students having the opportunity to ask questions. In the webinar, Indigenous Reconciliation: Finding Common Ground through Dialogue, Horn-Miller discusses age-appropriate work that must be done to move forward to a place of shared understanding. Horn-Miller said this can be achieved through listening and dialogue, extending empathy to those with different outlooks, not shying away from debate, and solutions-based thinking rooted in our shared aspirations.  

"Truth and reconciliation are not easy. It is listening to stories, getting to know one another and respecting one another. To unlearn generations of systemic racism, whether directly or indirectly, takes time. As a society and a school district, we all have a part to play in recognizing and understanding the past while taking steps to be better in the future," says Kelty Grant, the UCDSB's Principal of Indigenous Education. "Through educating the current generation of students and not shying away from the truth, it is the sincere hope that the process to truth and reconciliation steadily progresses. As Murray Sinclair, Chair of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, says “education is what got us here, and education is what will get us out.”  

Many schools across the district chose to focus on Truth and Reconciliation all week long. Here are some of the school-based activities that took place across the UCDSB:  

Centennial ’67 Public School in Spencerville demonstrated their support with a day of activities today and engaged in crafts, thought-provoking art and literacy activities and read alouds throughout the week.

Lyn Public School students engaged in classroom learning and a school-wide reflection display of orange hearts.

Rideau Vista Public School students also engaged in classroom learning and attended a community event called the Better Together Circle.

Cornwall Collegiate & Vocational School student Ivori Thompson from Akwesasne created a design of an Indigenous woman dancing, which has symbols that include Every Child Matters and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. CCVS used Thompson’s design to create orange shirts for students and staff to wear.

South Grenville District High School art students and members of the school’s iLead group painted feathers on the Town of Prescott’s Waterfront Trail.

Smiths Falls District Collegiate Institute students had a visit from a cultural advisor, who taught them Inuit words and then traditional hip-hop dances. Additionally, working alongside the school’s hospitality class to create traditional Inuit foods.   

Caldwell Street Public School Grades 5 and 6 students learned about the meaning and importance of Indigenous symbols and painted their learners on rocks. Following the paintings, students participated in an assembly and placed their rocks in the school’s courtyard.  

Gananoque Secondary School students in the Indigenous Voices class created an exhibit for Truth and Reconciliation Day, which was assembled by the Eng4C4U class and on display throughout the week.  

Linklater Public School students heard from Shannon Olivier, who spoke about Truth and Reconciliation, residential schools and how to effect change.  

Iroquois Public School students participated in a story walk featuring the book "You Hold Me Up" by Monique Gray Smith as a way to reflect, learn, and grow through rich Indigenous literature and experiences. 

   For media inquiries, please contact:   

April Scott-Clarke   Manager of Communications   Upper Canada District School Board   [email protected] 

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