Orange Shirt Day 2022

Orange Shirt Day 2022
Posted on 09/27/2022
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Many of today's Indigenous Elders, leaders, and community members are Survivors of Canada's residential school system. They have been deeply affected by over 400 years of colonization, attempted assimilation, and cultural genocide.  

 

Three residential schools operated close by: 

  • St. Bernard’s was a Roman Catholic mission school that operated between 1872 and 1961. 
  • St. Bruno’s was a boarding school operated by Roman Catholic missionaries from 1913 to 1923, at which time it was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt two years later and closed in 1968 following a fire commissioner’s report. 
  • St. Peter’s was a boarding school located Northwest of Grouard, run by Anglican missionaries from 1909 to 1932.

Details, including the names of those students whose deaths have been formally acknowledged, can be found at https://nctr.ca/residential-schools/alberta/. We can be sure that many students and families in our communities and throughout our division have experienced profound loss and carry the invisible scars of intergenerational trauma caused by the cruel effects of these schools.

 

Survivors are those children who were torn away from their families, communities, and culture; who endured unimaginable loss and trauma during their early formative years. Survivors include the families and communities who survived the heartbreaking loss of their children. Survivors also include the next generations, whose lives were impacted by the trauma and grief of generations before.

 

Throughout September, the High Prairie School Division's Indigenous Education team has focused on bringing acknowledgment and awareness to the impacts of residential schools while also celebrating the resilience of Indigenous people and culture. 

 

Special events include:

  • Survivors share about residential school experiences and their healing journeys
  • Morning announcements by members of the Youth Council for Reconciliation
  • Commemorative rock painting in memory of local survivors that attended St. Bruno's. Students concluded by laying their rocks at the mission and doing a clean up of the grounds.
  • Honor song and round dance 
  • Sacred fires
  • Bracelet and anklet making activities
  • Classroom read alouds 
  • Memorial walks
  • Bannock and laboom tea
  • Jingle dress dancing
  • Sacred fires

Last fall, the Division held a design competition to create a unique logo for 2022’s orange t-shirts. The winner was Terelle Supernault, an E.W. Pratt High School student from East Prairie Métis Settlement. Many staff and students purchased custom-made shirts from Nish Tees, a company owned by Indigenous Canadian James Hodgson. We encourage staff and students to wear orange in honour of the Survivors of residential schools and the children whose lives were tragically taken; who never came home. 

 

As we pay homage to those impacted, we recognize our vital role in guiding and shaping the lives of our next generations of young people. Cultural revitalization is an integral part of reconciliation. The High Prairie School Division is committed to providing equal opportunity to all students, regardless of race or gender, and showing each child that they matter as we move forward, with hope, into the future.

 

Schools will be closed on Friday, September 30.

 

The National Indian Residential School Crisis Line provides 24-hour crisis support to former residential school Survivors and their families free of charge at 1-866-925-4419.

 

For more information on Canada’s residential schools, go to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at nctr.ca.


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